Every time, you plan to purchase an Empty Land or a Constructed House/Apartment and think of your finances, the first dilemma, that you face, is whether it is better to withdraw the money from your Provident Fund(PF) Account or to take a new Plot Loan/Home Loan. I was also in a similar situation, so before taking the final decision, I thought it’s better to go to EPFO (Employee Provident Fund Organization) Regional office, Bangalore in order to get full details, regarding the same.
I went to PF office and was surprised to see that that PF Office Name was written in Hindi. The other thing, that caught my attention was a big sign-board, which had Tomorrow Is Holiday written in bold letters, which is fair enough, given that this was a government office. After all Govt. employees are more interested in holiday than work 😉
I started searching for the Enquiry Counter, but obviously I couldn’t find it myself. So I entered inside the building and saw few people talking to some officials in a corner. Some of them were carrying their application forms also. I knew, I was in right place. I had a list of questions to ask and gentleman at the counter promptly answered all of them. At times, I found their answers somewhat cryptic and too-brief to understand completely. But whatever information I got from PF Office, I would like to share with you.
PF Claim Eligibility:
You should have completed your service for more than 5 yrs.
Reasons for claiming the PF:
Almost every reason !! You can withdraw the PF(Provident Fund) money for purchasing the plot or flat, constructing the house, family members’ illness, marriage, post matriculation education, property damaged by natural calamity, member’s physically handicapped, financing of member’s life insurance policies.
You have to fill the Application FORM 31 in which you have to mention the purpose,amount and other details to withdraw the money. A Declaration Form also needs to be submitted along with Application Form 31 for purchasing a dwelling site/house/flat or reconstruction of dwelling house or for addition/alteration of the dwelling house.
Track your PF claim:
You can track the status of PF(Provident Fund) Account Transfer and PF(Provident Fund) Money Withdrawal claims online or on mobile phone. For more details, you can refer to one of my earlier blog “Track Your Provident Fund Claim“
Maximum Amount of PF that can be withdrawn:
It varies from reason to reason for which you are applying to withdraw the money. In most of the cases, you can withdraw up to 80-85% of your PF(Provident Fund) Account Balance.
How long does it take to process the PF Claim ??
When I asked Bangalore EPFO’s Employee, I was told that it will take 2 months to process the claim. This was due to the huge backlog of pending PF forms, which need to be cleared first, before the new claims are processed. But again, it may vary depending on location of Regional EPFO Offices, where your PF Account is managed.
Inquiry about PF Balance:
You need to go to EPFO office where your PF Account is maintained, fill an application to Assistant Commissioner, in order to get details of your PF account.
Before taking a decision to withdraw your PF money, you should bear in mind that you are earning about 9.5% interest rate on PF money, which is a very good, safe and guaranteed return on your investment, when compared with other investment avenues. As I have mentioned earlier, you can cite almost anything as a reason for withdrawing your PF money. So you should always think twice before deciding to withdraw. Just think of some critical situations, for example, loosing your job due to market recession or having caught a critical disease, which is not covered by your medical insurance policy. In such cases, banks will not oblige you with a loan, but your Provident Fund will be your savior.