The EPFO helpdesk, or more accurately, the EPFO Inoperative Account Helpdesk, was created to resolve the issue of inactive EPF accounts. According to this livemint report, nearly 90 million EPF accounts (out of 150 million accounts) are inoperative or inactive. As a result, a huge amount of money (almost INR. 27,000 crore) is lying unclaimed with the EPFO. But why are so many accounts inactive, and what can you do if yours is one of them. Read on to find out.
EPFO defines inoperative accounts as those in which no contributions have been made in the last 36 months (3 years). Furthermore, if an amount that was due to a member couldn’t be remitted (on account of wrong address) or is received back undelivered and is not claimed by the member within a period of 36 months, then it leads to the creation of an inoperative account.
The main goal of the EPFO helpdesk, therefore, is to assist members to trace their accounts. Once the accounts are traced, members can merge them with their existing account (or UAN) and withdraw the amount in it.
Why did so many EPF accounts become inoperative?
Many salaried private-sector employees change their jobs frequently. Due to such frequent job changes, they forget to withdraw or transfer the amount accumulated in their EPF account. Often, if the amount is very small, they simply ignore it.
More importantly, before the EPFO took the online route, getting EPF money was a cumbersome and long-drawn procedure. It involved filling up numerous forms, contacting previous employers, and personally visiting the EPF office. There was no convenient facility to withdraw or transfer the account. Therefore, employees often let their EPF go unclaimed while changing jobs. It was a far better option compared to the time-consuming, tedious, and frustrating process involved.
Today, after the creation of EPFO’s Member e-Sewa portal, it is much easier to withdraw and transfer your EPF account. It is also a lot easier to check your current balance, make partial withdrawals, etc.
Why is it important to act immediately in case you find that your account is inoperative?
Firstly, it’s your hard earned money. No matter how small the amount, wouldn’t it look better in your wallet than in someone else’? Secondly, inoperative accounts do not accrue interest. So if you have even a small amount remaining in your inactive EPF account, it will not earn you any interest. This is unlike a savings bank account, where you receive interest even if the account is dormant for a while. Therefore, if you have an inoperative account, you should use the steps outlined below to trace it.
How to Use EPFO Helpdesk to Trace your Inoperative Account
EFPO helpdesk for inoperative accounts helps members track their dormant accounts. Use the following steps to trace your account and retrieve the amount that belongs to you.
- Log in to the EPFO’s Helpdesk portal.
- At the bottom of the page, click the middle tab for ‘first time user’.
- On the next page, enter the description of the problem, such as why your account was lying inactive. Click ‘Next’.
- Employment Details – provide as much information as you can in the fields. Leave the fields for which you do not have data. Make sure that you provide the correct information so that the EPFO can help you easily. Click ‘Next’.
- Personal Details – The Name, Date of Birth and Mobile Number fields are mandatory. Enter the other fields as well in order to provide as much information about yourself.
- Enter the KYC details such as Aadhaar Number, PAN, Bank Account Number and IFSC code. Then, click ‘Generate Pin’.
- You will receive the Pin via SMS on your mobile number. Enter the Pin and click ‘Verify Pin and Submit’.
- You will be provided an acknowledgement reference number.
- Navigate to the Inoperative Helpdesk Login page. Click on ‘Login’.
- Select the ‘Registered Member’ check box.
- Enter the reference number you received in Step 8. The EPFO Helpdesk Dashboard will now appear.
- The concerned Regional EPFO will receive your query and contact you for further information if necessary. Tracking your inoperative account can take time. It is advisable, therefore, to be patient.
If you’re still unable to trace your account, you may need to visit your regional EPF office personally. Now, almost all regional EPF offices have their own portal. However, in case you need to visit personally, here’s some more information on how you can reach out to your regional EPFO.
To locate your nearest EPF office, follow this short online procedure at the EPFO’s website.
- Navigate to the EPFO’s Locate an E.P.F Office online tool.
- Select the check box titled ‘Know the EPF office having jurisdiction over an address’.
- Select your state and district using the drop-down menus.
- Click the ‘submit’ button to get the details.
- You will get the address of the regional EPFO. You will also find the address and contact details of the main administrative office for your regional EPFO.
For the websites of the regional offices, navigate to the EPF Regional Sites page.
For UAN related queries, call the UAN helpdesk at 1800 118 005 from 9.15 AM to 5.45 PM on all working days. You can also send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The EPFO helpdesk is a wonderful facility and an opportunity for members to act on their inoperative accounts. Do take advantage of this facility and claim your money today. To learn more about EPF and UAN, visit our website frequently.