The Provident PF

A unique feature of being self-employed is periodically feeling poor as the proverbial church-mouse. It’s a bit bleak. The expenses seem to add up (the mouse wants feta cheese to add to her salads) and the bank account seems unable to withstand any onslaughts (dairy related or otherwise). So, at such moments, I look at alternate sources of helping the account along.

Let’s consolidate and withdraw my employee provident fund money.

Since I have changed organizations with predictable regularity, the virtual EPF treasury is pockmarked with my EPF accounts. Am terribly embarrassed about being mostly clueless as to how to transfer accounts – who knows what the UAN is? Further, my half-assed previous attempts to affect any transfer have been as futile as exercising by sitting on the couch and watching yoga videos. So, most of those accounts are now inoperative and are not only not earning interest but are also as accessible to me as good old Everest.

Dear Reader,

  • If you have no clue what the EPF is, it is probably because you have never worked with an Indian organization. You can continue to read the rest of the post, if you a) want a laugh b) need reasons to thank your stars that you don’t know what EPF is
  • If you have perfectly consolidated EPF accounts which are earning you 403% interest and you are judging/laughing at me. Leave okay, just leave. NOW.
  • If you have perfectly consolidated EPF accounts which are earning you 403% interest and you empathize – call me. I need help!

SG – the still-employed-husband but with a similar history of lost EPF accounts – and I sat down to figure out the process today.

Notable highlights so far:

  • We fought about which table to use while working
  • We worked out that despite linking his PAN, my Aadhar, multiple bank accounts, my shoesize, the refractive power of his spectacles, and the number of times our neighbour’s dog poops, to our UANs, the EPFO still has both our date of births wrong. Mine is listed as unknown while his is just off by several months. That or he is blatantly lying to me about how old he is
  • They SAY it is a 24-hour helpline
  • We spent 61.9 minutes discussing the merits and demerits of Aadhar and GST and are now bitter enemies
  • Unable to bear the strain of such goings-on my poor phone blacked out. I became quite pensive as to a) how I need to access my EPF funds to replace the phone b) how I need to access the phone to access the OTP to access my EPF
  • It is impossible to proceed without updating the DOB. He needs to petition his employer. Since I employ myself and no amount of petitioning myself will help, I am petitioning God.
  • He (SG, not God) left home in the middle, promising to return in five minutes. Just when I nearly had an on-line breakthrough and desperately needed him to feed in his personal details, I found him playing tennis
  • After working out an alternate route, I spent an irrevocably-lost thirty minutes of my life, painstakingly updating all my personal details (including my roll number from when I was a toddler at Montessori), only to be given a cryptic error message which was basically the universe laughing ‘April’s Fool!’ at me.
  • It took me seven tries to get the perfect password (must include one capital letter, 71.2 special characters, and one egg-laying duckbilled platypus). I will promptly forget it and shall have to repeat the process tomorrow

Dear Reader,

If you are in the same boat as me with respect to EPF accounts – watch this space, let’s hope I can figure this out.

If you are in the EPFO or a related organization, please ignore everything above. I am a big fan!

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