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More than 27000 crores of EPF is Unclaimed. Here is how you can claim yours


Employees contribute to Provident Fund for post retirement benefits. But when employees change jobs, some of them open a new EPF account and do not operate their old EPF account. As a result, that account becomes inoperative after 3 years. Employees often are not aware of the process of claiming  amount from these inoperative accounts. Government data suggests that there is more than 27000 crore rupees in these inoperative accounts.


The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was established through an act of Parliament. Both employees & employers contribute to the fund. The fund can be withdrawn by the Employee in case of retirement, resignation or by the nominee in the case of death. While many organizations ensure that a contribution is made to the EPF, employees face problems when they change jobs. Some of them do not transfer their existing EPF money and open an entirely new EPF account with the new employer. As a result, the old EPF account lies inoperative.

Inoperative Accounts

Para 72(6) of the Employees Provident Fun Scheme defines what is known as an ‘Inoperative Account’. Inoperative accounts are a common occurrence when employees change jobs and are not aware of the EPF account details. Since they open a new EPF account, the old account becomes inoperative if the amount is not claimed in within 36 months (3 years).how-to-claim-epf-amount-inoperative-amount

More than 27000 crore rupees unclaimed in ‘Inoperative Accounts’

In an answer to a question in the Lok Sabha, the minister of Labour & Employment mentioned that as on 31st March, 2014, a total of 27,448 crore rupees was lying unclaimed in these inoperative accounts. Maharashtra leads this list with more than 6700 crores followed by Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu, each of which have more than 2000 crore of unclaimed fund.

The government cited the following reasons for such inoperative accounts

  • The members after switching the job from one establishment to another do not get the funds transferred to their present account. As a result, the old account becomes inoperative after thirty six months.
  • The interest earned on the deposits with EPFO is exempted from Income Tax. Therefore, there exists an incentive of leaving the balance amount with EPFO.
  • Such deposits are safe & secure investments and cannot be attached even by a decree of any Court.

While the other two reasons are also valid, a large number of inoperative accounts are because of the first reason. The ministry has taken the following steps to simplify the process of claiming the amount from these inoperative accounts.

  • EPFO has launched a portal namely ‘Inoperative Accounts Online Help Desk’ to assist the members to identify their inoperative accounts.
  • Instructions have been issued to reconcile the Inoperative Accounts on priority and further identify the beneficiaries through employers.
  • EPFO has allotted unique permanent numbers to its members called Universal Account Number (UAN) which will enable to identify the members without intermediation of the employers.

Here is how you can claim your EPF amount from the Inoperative Account

The EPFO has launched the Inoperative Account Help Desk. By logging onto this helpdesk, one can identify their inoperative account and then make a claim for the amount. First time users can also go through the user manual. Given below is a step by step process of identifying your inoperative EPF account and using the Helpdesk.

Step 1: Submit the details of your problem in not more than 1000 characters

Once you click the first time user button, you will be presented with a screen where you have to describe your problem in not more than 1000 characters. how to claim epf amount -submit problem details
Step 2: Enter the details of your Employer/Employment

Once you click next, you will be presented with another form where you have to enter details of your previous employer/employment. None of the fields are mandatory. You are advised to provide as many details as possible so that the identification process becomes easier. To assist you with the identification of your employer’s Establishment Code, the portal also has a search option. how to claim epf amount -employment details

You can search for the establishment by location or name or pin code. Once you find the relevant establishment you worked with, select it.

how to claim epf amount -establishment information search

Step 3: Enter your Personal Details

After this, you are asked to enter your personal details. Even here, none of the fields are mandatory except the Name, Mobile Number & Date of Birth. You are advised to provide as many details as possible so that the identification process becomes easier. how to claim epf amount -enter personal details

Step 4: Mobile Number Verification

Mobile number of the Member will be verified through the PIN sent on his mobile. After the mobile verification, an SMS would be sent to the member communicating his/her reference ID for future reference. how to claim epf amount - acknowledgement

After submitting these details, the EPFO helpdesk will contact the individual and take it forward from there. You could also login and check the status of your issue.

Get your UAN today

To ensure that these issues do not recur in future, it is advised that employees take a UAN (Universal Account Number). The UAN will act as an umbrella for the multiple Member Ids allotted to an individual by different establishments. The idea is to link multiple Member Identification Numbers (Member Id) allotted to a single member under single Universal Account Number. This will help the member to view details of all the Member Identification Numbers (Member Id) linked to it. Employees can get their UAN by registering here.

Are these efforts bearing fruit?

As a result of the efforts, there is a steady rise in the amount paid to beneficiaries from the inoperative accounts. The amount paid to beneficiaries from these inoperative accounts has more than quadrupled from 2011-12 to 2013-14.

how to claim epf amount - amount paid to beneficiaries



About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.


  1. it is because of EPF only. earlier the Epf didnt allowed to continue the old epf account, for a new job. when the employee shift the job, he had to start a new epf account from their present employeer, and then the employee can merge the old account with new one. but due to the “procedure and practice”, for most of us the merging was not happened. also from the employee side, the want to hide the previous epf account , in order to withdraw the amount. but epf did nothing to prevent. that is why so many inoperative account.
    even though the epf have all the details about the employee, the didnt bother about the employee or retired employee of heirs of them. they expecting that the request should be come from the employee side. the heirs or family members may not knew about the epf account existence for their father. no fruitfull step was taken by epf to close or service the account. even the annual account statement was supplied to the institution only. why cant the send a copy to the home address.
    even now also they are expecting the “closing request” is to come from the employee. why cant they identify the employee and settle the amount. even now, for closing the “inoperative account”, they are asking to submit the claim forms thru, former employer. we have moved from place to place. for one or other reason we are not able to / not interested to meet the former employer.why this unwanted procedure. when asked, this is because to “identify” the employee.
    is the epf dont have any responsibility in identifying the employee. are they ready to settle the amount to whoever identify by the former employer?also some previous employer office people expecting bribe from us.
    instead epf can receive “settle request ‘ directly from the employee and get authorisation or identification from the previous employer, and settle the amount to the employee. This will reduce the burden of the employee. will they try this.

    • getting paper work done by previous employer is impossible and that is a major cause for people to leave the epf account like this. since epf people have all the address proofs with them, they should contact employee and settle things and not wait for the employee to get approval from former employer.

  2. fake website ! research before you post!! logicalindian posted the same thing.
    how can you guys not know its not a legit website ?

    • Thank you for the comment. Please note that any article
      Published on Factly goes through fact check and verification. That said, we will be glad to be corrected if there are any errors.

      But in this case, there is no such issue. The Inoperative account help desk is an initiative of the EPFO under the ministry of Labour and employment, government of India. You can also access the helpdesk from this page of EPFO.

      Whether or not the helpdesk is functioning effectively is something we need to check. If you have complaints about the helpdesk functioning, we advise you to log a complaint with the PG Portal of govt of India

      • EPF India should not be hosting these sensitive data on websites that link to an IP address instead of the official domain name ( Others can easily spoof this and obtain sensitive information that will allow people to loose their PF amount. This is bad policy. I have researched it and looks like it is legitimate, but I won’t give out my data on this website.

        First, this is not even protected by HTTPS. CRAP none of their web apps are protected by a secure connection.

        Looks like GOI has no sense of security on the public internet.

        • True Karthikeyan. We were only talking about the legitimacy of the portal. With respect to the other issues you raised about security, the concerns are 100% valid and the govt has done a shoddy job.

  3. I have an unsettled epf account In the year 2003-04. Amount was released and got returned to epf due to closure of my bank account. I have all the details including the cheque details and amount. Can I claim this amount now?

  4. Hiii,
    what is the procedure to withdraw inoperative PF amount without previous Employer attestation.Pls suggest me.

  5. After leaving the job some of the companies really makes a person frustated by stating wrong information.This should be rectify inorder to prevent such things.They should equally help to person to claim his Epf.The procedure from companies are taking too long.They dont submit the Epf form of employees at par.

  6. Hello Sir:
    When I entered details into Inoperative Account Help Desk.I got a SMS in my phone asking me to file Forms 19 and 10c duly attested my my previous employer. But the previous employer is now purchased my another company and so it does not exist anymore. So what alternative do I have.


  7. Hello Sir:
    When I entered details into Inoperative Account Help Desk.I got a SMS in my phone asking me to file Forms 19 and 10c duly attested my my previous employer. But the previous employer is now purchased my another company and so it does not exist anymore. So what alternative do I have.

  8. Dear Concern

    We want to now we claim the Pension Contribution with our employee Share / employer share

  9. My PF amount was Employee-11000 and Employer 8160 But I got 8160/- only If any chance to come Employee amount to my bank account. If it will come how many days will it take? please give me the reply


    It’s a very serious matter. The government while framing PF Rules took care of only deposits and did not take care on simplifying withdrawal procedure. That is why only poor workers suferred as they could not withdraw their PF amounts because of such complicated procedure. Please take this example: I worked for six months in Noida on a project and thereafter i changed my job to Mumbai because of closure of such project. In this situation when i will request for my PF, reply will come, submit varios certificates including a certificate from employer and personal visit too. It becomes un economical to such poor worker to comply with such complicated procedure. Why department does not transfer money to menmebr’s nominated Bank account against his request.

  11. Banoo Behram (Billy) Baugwala on

    Kindly awaiting eagerly for settlement of my unclaimed PF refrence 17021113718 on 09-02-2017



    After clicking the Inoperative A/c.Help Desk, I am getting this message.

    HTTP Status 404 – /INOPHelpDesk/

    type Status report

    message /INOPHelpDesk/

    description The requested resource (/INOPHelpDesk/) is not available.
    JBoss Web/7.0.13.Final

    What should I do now?

  13. Aravind Chakravarthy on

    I am unable to Generate pin since nothing is happening once I click on ‘Generate Pin’ .. Please help

  14. Idiot EPFO INDIA & his Minister, website not working properly, but, they posing in Facebook of developing this department, I was asking for a UAN NUMBER since from last 6 months, they don’t giving any reply for my solution, website down, customer service number always busy.

  15. Not able to generate the PIN for my mobile number, what is the format you entered in the application form? with 91-mobile or without 91-mobile ?

  16. Ridiculous government service, people should start opting out of PF accounts, 10 different places one has to go to transfer claim benefits, multiple accounts to which money gets transferred, no clear instructions, constantly we receive messages to update KYC and when we go to update half of the times servers are down and URLS keep changing constanstly, I wonder how the old ones would really use the services, no wonder crores of money is lying unclaimed in PF accounts

  17. venkata suresh on

    I applied pf online but it claim status showing claim settled but i did’nt get my amount in my accont please help me

  18. I had 2 PF accounts under same UAN, one among them – the latest one is already claimed, but I am unable to claim the previous one. Please suggest.

  19. Is this website genuine one. Did anyone receive the unclaimed balance? I doubt why they are collecting all the details. When PF number alone is enough to pull the details. Instead they are taking complete details. It is suspected that the personal details might be misused.