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Introduction

Most professional individuals these days prefer to change jobs frequently in the hope of better prospects and improved pay. However, frequent job change also means switching from the old PF account to new PF with the new employer. To make the transition from an old PF account to the new one easier, the government introduced (UAN) Universal Account Number. This is a unique 12-digit account number that is allotted to each EPF member.

According to PF norms, each member of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) can have only one Universal Account Number (UAN). However, nowadays, it is common for member individuals to have more than one UAN. For EPFO members who have more than one UAN, the old UAN has to be deactivated. Employees should ensure to transfer the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) balance to the correct member ID linked to the new account.

Employees can report the issue to their present employer or write to the EPFO to request the blocking of the previous UAN and consequent transfer of existing PF balance to the active UAN. This process can also be done online on the OTCP portal or by visiting the EPFO's member portal.

What is UAN?

Universal Account Number (UAN) is a unique 12-digit number that is given to each member of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). With the help of the UAN, PF members can easily manage their accounts. The Ministry of Employment and Labour under the guidance of the Government of India issues UAN to PF members. Irrespective of the organisation they work in, all Provided Fund (PF) information can be accessed in one place by PF members with the help of UAN.

In earlier days, whenever an individual would join a new organization, he would be given a new PF account number. This made it difficult to keep a check on the updated PF balance. It was also difficult to track activities related to pay change and employees would find it challenging to check PF contribution against the updated pay. To tackle such issues, the UAN was introduced.

UAN is a universal number that helps members to gather all the PF accounts linked to multiple IDs of various organizations in one place. By using UAN, the employee can withdraw and also transfer funds in the PF account.

More Information on UAN

  • The UAN is a unique number provided to all employees enrolled for PF benefit. This number is independent of employers and hence does not change even if an employee changes job.
  • The employer can validate an employee by using his UAN in case KYC documents have been verified.
  • Since the UAN facility is available online for all employees, no employer can deduct or hold off an employee’s PF.
  • An employee can validate the PF deposit made by the employer every month. He/she has to register as an EPF Member on the Portal by using the UAN provided.
  • EPF passbook access is available through SMS. One can send EPFOHO UAN ENG to 7738299899 from the mobile number that has been registered with the EPFO.

How to register the UAN?

Here are a few easy steps to be followed for registering the UAN:

  • Go to the EPF Member Portal.
  • Click on “Activate UAN”
  • Enter all the information around UAN, such as member id, mobile number, Aadhaar, PAN, name, date of birth and e-mail id
  • Select “Get Authorization PIN” to fetch the PIN on the registered mobile number
  • Provide this PIN for verifying the request.
  • Set up a username and password on the UAN portal for future use.

Common Reasons for Allotment of Two UANs

If an employee changes his job, a new EPF account is set up by the new organisation. All existing EPF accounts are auto-linked with the UAN of the employee. Hence, there are high chances that a new UAN is allotted to the employee at the time of moving between jobs. There could be multiple reasons for allotment of new UAN. Listed here are some of the common reasons:

  • In case an employee has not disclosed his previous UAN – In case an employee changes his job, he must make sure to disclose his existing UAN and EPF account number (Member ID) to the new employer. In absence of disclosure of this information, the employer may open a fresh PF account along with a new UAN.
  • Non-disclosure of “Date of Exit” by the previous employer – During the process of EPF transfer to the new employer, the old employer must mention the date of exit in the ECR (Electronic Challan and Return). In case of the absence of this information promptly, the new organisation may allot a new UAN to the employee.

Consequences of Holding Two UANs

Two active UANs is not permitted by law and is against the rules. A member must have only one UAN with all the EPF accounts linked to it. EPF accounts cannot be transferred among employees. However, an employee who has two UANs can request for his EPF account to be transferred from one UAN to another and ask his previous UAN to be closed. Thus, an EPF account linked with one UAN will have to be compulsorily transferred to another EPF account linked with a separate UAN.

What Should an Employee Do?

In recent years, there have been multiple cases of employees assigning different UANs (Universal Account Number) to employees. According to EPF rules, an individual should have only one UAN at any given point of time. The employee’s EPF account must be linked to his UAN. In case he/she has been assigned two UANs, the previous one must be deactivated at the earliest.

Two Methods to Merge Two UAN EPF Accounts

Employees who have been incorrectly allotted two UANs must get one of them deactivated (normally, the previous one). There are two ways of getting the UAN deactivated and the EPF account transferred to the correct and active UAN. Mentioned below are the two commonly used methods:

Method 1

  • Reach out to your employer or EPFO and report the issue at the earliest
  • You can write an email to uanepf@epfindia.gov.in stating about your current and previous UAN
  • EPFO will begin verification on the issue once it gets notified about the issue
  • Your previous UAN is then blocked and the existing UAN remains active
  • After this, you have to submit a claim for transferring the EPF account (linked with the blocked UAN) to the new active account.

This process can be time-consuming and the general resolution rate is said to be very low. Thus, EPFO has set up a new procedure which is expected to make things easier for a member. It will especially be helpful while merging two UANs and transferring EPF easily. Here is the new method which can be used by an employee with two UANs:

Method 2

  • After thorough identification, old UAN will be deactivated by EPFO once the transfer of the EPF to the new UAN is complete
  • Thus, the old UANs will be blocked automatically and an employee’s previous member ID will be linked to the new or existing UAN
  • SMS notification is sent for the deactivation to the employee’s registered mobile number
  • If the employee has been unable to activate his new UAN, he will be notified to activate it at the earliest to receive the status update of the account
  • There could be instances where the employee gets PF arrears from the previous employer. In such situations, the arrear is credited to the new PF account which is linked with the new UAN.

Advantages of UAN for Employees

Minimum Employer Involvement in PF withdrawals:  With the presence of UAN, the employer involvement is significantly reduced since the PF accumulation from the old organization is auto-transferred to the new PF account after completion of KYC verification.

No Need for Fund Transfer: An employee must furnish his UAN details and KYC to the new employer for transferring the old PF balance to the new PF account post verification.

Manage via SMS Alerts: Employees will receive SMS as soon as a contribution is made by the employer towards PF. This is provided, the employee has registered on the UAN portal.

How to use UAN for PF Transfer?

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) constantly takes several measures to make the operation of EPF accounts easier for both the employer and employees. To keep up with the technological advancements, EPFO is constantly striving towards streamlining of processes about online EPF. This is especially applicable to PF transfer and withdrawal of PF which are considered to be tedious and time-consuming processes.

EPFO introduced Universal Account Number (UAN), which is the blanket number for multiple Member Ids given to an individual by various employers. UAN allows the linking of multiple EPF Accounts (Member Id) provided to a single EPF member. It offers a range of services such as dynamically updated UAN card, updated PF passbook including all transfer-in details, facility to link previous members’ ID with present ID, monthly SMS regarding credit of contribution in PF account and facility for auto-triggering transfer request on change of employment.

Till recently, PF transfer could be done online by going to the ‘Online Transfer Claim Portal’. However, with the introduction of UAN, the transfer process has been revised and shifted under the ‘unified portal’. For online PF transfer, here are some of the important points to note:

  • An EPF member must have activated his UAN on the UAN portal and the registered mobile number used for activation should be in an active state.
  • The Bank account number and IFSC code of the employee's bank account must be updated against the UAN. Updated Aadhar number and PAN is not mandatory for PF transfer requests.
  • The employer must approve the e-KYC for transfer to be executed.
  • The previous/current employer must have digitally registered authorized signatories on EPFO portal.
  • PF account number related to previous and current employment of an employee should be updated in EPFO database.
  • Single transfer requests per member ID can be accepted.

FAQs

1. What if I have two UAN numbers? Does it impact my EPF balance or transfer in any way?

Two different UAN numbers for one employee is not accepted and is against the rules. If you happen to change jobs and move between organizations, you must request for transfer of PF account at the earliest.

2. What is the expected timeline for merging two EPF accounts?

It normally takes around 20 days from the date of the request to transfer one EPF account to the other.

3. Is Form 13 a prerequisite for UAN transfer?

Employees working in the corporate sector are required to submit Form 13 for EPF transfer to their new PF account at the time of job change.

4. How is Form 13 used?

Form 13 is primarily used for the transfer of Provident Fund from one account to another. Employees have to submit this form to their employers, upon which, the latter have to verify and approve the details furnished.

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