PF Withdrawal: The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has gripped the world to become the most dominant strain of the coronavirus, and India is no exception. The country, at present, is recording nearly two lakh cases daily, with the numbers projected to increase further, mainly due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant. In this situation, the need for funds for medical purposes has gone up for affected families or persons. However, the rising number of Covid-19 cases has also affected the general public in terms of economy. In a bid to ease this burden, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, or EPFO, has come up with a solution.
The EPFO now allows its members to withdraw medical advance money to ease their burden of such expenses. Members can withdraw Rs 1 lakh in advance for a medical emergency, including hospitalisation. This can be done without producing any documents or estimates, the retirement body has said in a circular. The EPFO in its notification issued last year amid the Delta wave, said, that in case of life threatening diseases, it becomes “imperative to get the patient immediately admitted in hospital on emergency to save his/her life and it is not possible to get the estimate from hospital in such serious situations.”
The circular was a revisit by the organisation to the matter of granting medical advance in the event of medical emergencies for employees under the PF scheme. “A need is felt for streamlining the advance facility for such serious in-patient’s treatment in hospital whenever family members of employees are not able to manage estimate from hospital concerned in which such patient has been admitted in emergency. Sometimes patient employee maybe in ICU where estimate is not known in advance. Hence the following procedure may be adopted to grant medical advance for emergency hospitalisation on account of serious life threatening illness including Covid,” said the circular. This also becomes significant with the rising Omicron cases in India.
How to Obtain EPFO Medical Advance
– Patient must be admitted for treatment in a Government/PSU/CGHS empanelled hospital as per the rules. In case of a private hospital, they can appeal to the relevant authority to consider their case as fit to grant relaxation in rules.
– The employee or a family member has to submit a letter on behalf of the patient for claiming the advance. It need not have an estimate of the cost, but it does need to have the details of the hospital and the patient.
– The medical advance of up to Rs 1 lakh can then be granted by the concerned authority to the patient or family member or can be directly deposited to the hospital’s accounts for beginning the treatment process. This advance should be granted immediately, preferably on the same working day.
– In case the treatment costs exceed the Rs 1 lakh advance, then an additional advance is possible as long as it falls under the rules of withdrawal of the EPFO. This advance will only be granted after the receipt of the estimate for treatment.
– The employee or family member needs to submit the hospital bill within 45 days after being discharged. The medical advance will be adjusted to fit the final bill of the hospital as per the EPF rules.