With the objective of encouraging savings among the working class in the country, the government of India launched the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) allowing employees and employers to deposit a fixed amount to the employee’s PF account. Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) helps employees to set up a corpus for their retirement. This corpus can, however, be utilized for various requirements, even during the employment period. Members can also apply for partial withdrawals from their PF account under certain circumstances. This can be done by submitting EPF Form 31, which is an application for advance from the fund.
Here, we will discuss in detail on EPF Form 31.
What is EPF Form 31?
Form 31, also known as the EPF Advance Form, is commonly used for filing a claim for partial PF withdrawal or advance requests from the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) account. Employees are not permitted to withdraw funds from their EPF accounts whenever needed. There are certain norms for PF withdrawal. Similarly, withdrawal using Form 31 can only be made in certain situations.
For partial PF withdrawals, EPF Form 31 can be filled online and offline. If applying offline, the PF member or claimant has to manually fill details in the form. If the employee wants to make an online application, details are often auto-filled. It is important for the member to register his/her UAN for availing online services.
Declaration in EPF Form 31
EPF Form 31 is used to make a declaration for partial withdrawal of one’s EPF corpus that is mostly reserved for retirement purposes. Partial withdrawal from EPF is only allowed under certain specific conditions like purchase/construction of a house, education of child/sibling, home loan repayment, medical emergencies, or the wedding of self/sibling/child. An individual also has to meet certain eligibility conditions for the partial withdrawal application to be passed.
The EPF Form 31 acts as proof of fulfillment of the purpose for partial withdrawal. It must be filled and duly signed by the employee. Certain sections of the Form have to be filled in by the employer and the EPF commissioner. The information provided in the form must be up to date and true. The form must be submitted along with other relevant documents as required.
How to download EPF Form 31?
To download EPF Form 31, here are the steps to be followed:
- Visit the EPFO portal using this link – https://www.epfindia.gov.in/site_en/index.php
- Log in to the portal by entering the UAN and password
- Go to the ‘Online Services’ and navigate to ‘Claim’
- Once the new page is launched, users will be asked to enter details such as name, date of birth, father’s name, PAN, Aadhaar number, date of joining the company, and registered mobile number.
- Click ‘Proceed for Online Claim’
- From the dropdown menu on the next page, select ‘PF Advance (Form 31)
- Choose the reason for withdrawal of advance and enter the amount to be withdrawn along with current residential address
- Sign the disclosure section and mark the box that states, ‘Get Aadhaar OTP’
- Enter the OTP that received on the registered mobile number and click on ‘Validate OTP and Submit Claim Form’
How to check Form 31 claim status?
Here are the steps to check Form 31 claim status online:
- Go to the EPFO website using this link – https://www.epfindia.gov.in/site_en/index.php
- Click on ‘Click here for Knowing your Claim Status’
- A drop-down list will show up from where users have to select the location of their PF office
- The next page displays region code and user’s office code
- Enter the Establishment code
- The next page will ask users to enter a 7-digit account number
- ‘Submit’ form to see the status of application on the next page
Important points to remember while submitting Form 31
Some of the important points to note while submitting Form 31 for partial PF withdrawal are:
- A user has to attach a cancelled cheque along with the form as a compulsory step for verification of the user’s bank account details.
- For offline applications, it is important to have certification from the last employer.
- Online application can be submitted only if the member has linked his/her bank account, Aadhaar, and PAN number with UAN.
Latest information on EPF withdrawal settlement timelines
As per recent changes, EPFO has allowed members to withdraw EPF funds for COVID-19 related requirements. In March 2020, the government of India announced a special provision allowing the EPF members to withdraw basic pay and dearness allowance (DA) of up to 3 months or 75% of total EPF corpus, whichever is lower as advance withdrawal.
However, this permission was only pertaining to a one-time advance related to COVID-19 pandemic relief. Under the auto-claim settlement process, EPFO has now reduced the claim settlement timeline to only 3 days as compared to the statutory requirement of claims settlement within 20 days.
For partial withdrawals from EPF accounts, members must use the EPF form 31. The advances or loans taken from the EPF account can help members to meet different financial requirements, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
- How to cancel your EPF Form 31?
After you have applied for partial PF withdrawal by submitting Form 31, you cannot cancel your application. You will have to reach out to the EPFO Regional Office if you are facing any urgencies.
- What does ‘under process’ mean?
‘Under process’ means that a PF application is under consideration. Applicants must keep a check on claim status until it gets approved and the status changes to ‘your claim has been settled’.
- How many times can I claim Form 31?
Members are allowed to withdraw PF up to 2-3 times on a non-refundable basis. The minimum gap between withdrawals should be at least 6 months. However, a member can only withdraw once for one reason.
- Why is my EPF Form 31 rejected?
EPFO may reject EPF Form 31 under circumstances such as missing updated information in the form, advance claimed in the past, required documents not furnished, or failure to submit the EPF form within stipulated period.
- How can I get Form 31?
Form 31 can be accessed from the EPF website. For this, a member has to log in using his/her UAN and password on the portal. Next step is to go to the ‘Online Services’ tab and select ‘Claim’ for submitting an online request.