Kochi: Over 30,000 provident fund pension applications are pending at the offices of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) across the state.
There are Rs 5,600 applications pending at the EPFO's Ernakulam regional office itself. Another 25,000 applications are pending before the offices of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode regional offices, and Kollam, Kottayam, and Kannur sub-regional offices.
This includes those who are yet to get pension and those pensioners who have filed application to get higher pension.
As per a Kerala High Court ruling, even the private sector employees and workers have the right to get the higher pension, which is calculated based on the final salary.
However, the EPFO reportedly has not been taking action on these applications voluntarily. Action is allegedly taken only on the applications submitted by those who have filed a plea against the non-compliance of the court order and won a favourable verdict.
Complaints have risen that EPFO authorities told some of the pensioners that if they were ready to give in an affidavit, settling for pension in the old format, they would be given pension. However, once they give in such an affidavit, they would lose the right for the higher pension.
Even the Supreme Court had upheld the Kerala High Court on giving higher pension. The EPFO and the Union Labour Ministry had filed review petitions against this. But an order is yet to be passed on this petition. The EPFO cites this as the main reason as to why the applications are not being considered now.
The officials said they had also come across attempts of fraud by showing manifold increase in the salaries of final years. Therefore, they said that the salary records from 1995 have to be examined. There is also ambiguity in the guidelines. The authorities explained that the increasing number of applications and fewer staff are all causing delay in taking action.
How to file the application
The applicant has to give the joint option form at his or her office for granting higher pension. Along with the 3A form that clearly mentions the rightful pension amount, the office has to submit the application to the EPFO.