New Pension guidelines to benefit 65 Lakh pensioners

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The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has announced changes in processing of pensions for over 65 lakh pensioners. The key points in the new guidelines pertain to form 14, disabled children and remarriage restrictions. Further, banks shall now also accept the Aadhar-enabled “Jeevan Pramaan” life certificates.

In an order issued on Friday, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare stated that an updated set of instructions will improve the processing of pensioner’s requests by banks and other organizations. Therefore, an attempt has been made to consolidate relevant instructions issued by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare periodically for the disbursement of pension.

These guidelines address various matters, such as banks often iterating that spouses must open separate bank accounts for procuring family pension; submission of life certificates and disability certificates; and requirement of a family pensioner to submit Form 14 on the death of a pensioner, among several others.

Form 14

 The spouse of a deceased pensioner do not need to submit form 14 if the they have a joint account. This is valid only if  authorization for disbursement of the family pension already exists in the Pension Payment Order (PPO). The guidelines also said that in such circumstances, the spouse shall only be required to submit a copy of the death certificate to the bank branch to acquire their family pension.

As per the instructions of September 2013, banks will identify family pensioners based on their KYC and PPO information. Thanks to this, the pensioners need not be physically present for the procedures.

Life Certificates

According to these newly consolidated guidelines, pension disbursing banks shall now also accept the Aadhar-enabled digital versions of life certificates “Jeevan Pramaan”.

Pensioners/family pensioners must submit life certificates, annually, in November, as per the new guidelines. Pensioners aged 80 and above can submit them in October as well.

Disability Certificates

Children with permanent disabilities will not need new disability certificates. However, disabled children must self-certify that they have not started earning their livelihood.

 If family pension is sanctioned to a temporarily disabled child, the guardian must produce a disability certificate every five years. This is to affirm that they continue to suffer from a disorder or disability, to continue the family pension.

Updated Guidelines on Remarriage

If a spouse is the recipient of family pension, a certification of remarriage need not be furnished by them. They will sign an undertaking  to affirm that they will notify the disbursing bank at the soonest upon remarriage.

Childless widows and disabled children of deceased government servants and pensioners, shall procure family pensions even if they decide to remarry or marry. Except for the spouse, family pensioners must submit declarations of non-remarriage/non-marriage every six months. Upon marriage or remarriage, the family pension shall be discontinued, effective immediately.

SMS/Email Reminders

The Department has given to banks to send periodic SMS/email reminders to pensioners in October and November. Banks will annually send reminders on October 24, November 1,15,25. Moreover, banks must compile an exception list as of December 15 of pensioners who fail to submit their life certificates. In addition to the same, banks shall send an SMS/email as a reminder of their pending submissions.

Introduction of a door-step service

 This model shall ask pensioners via SMS/email if they would prefer the submission of life certificates to be done via a chargeable door-step service. This service shall operate on nominal charges not exceeding Rs 60.

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