The ministry has issued consolidated guidelines to the chairman and CEOs (CMDs) of pension-paying banks to raise awareness among Central Pension Treatment Center (CPPC) / Bank branches on updated rules and instructions in this regard.
The move comes after an analysis of the complaints received by Department of Pension and the welfare of pensions under the Ministry of Personnel.
“It has been observed that updated and consolidated instructions will help improve the processing of pensioners’ requests from banks and others,” the department said in an order issued Friday.
Therefore, an attempt has been made here to consolidate relevant instructions issued by the Pension and Retirement Department from time to time with regard to the payment of pensions, it says.
“These banks are adopting different procedures while releasing retirement / family pension or seeking statements / testimonials from pensioners / family pensioners at various periodicities,” the department said while issuing the consolidated guidelines.
There are 65.26 lakh state pensioners.
These integrated guidelines deal with various issues, including the banks insisting on spouses opening separate bank accounts to receive a family pension, submitting a life certificate and disability certificate and requiring the family pensioner to file ‘Form 14’ upon the death of a pensioner.
All banks were encouraged to adhere to these consolidated guidelines and provide broad publicity by posting these instructions on their websites and also on the message boards in the bank’s branches, etc.
“Upon the death of a pensioner, the spouse is not required to file Form 14 if he / she has a joint account with the pensioner and permission to pay family pension in the PPO payment order is in his / her favor,” the guidelines say.
“In such cases, a spouse only needs to provide a copy of the death certificate to the retirement pay department to begin his / her family pension,” they said.
The pension-paying bank will identify the family pensioners based on the information provided in the PPO and its own Know Your Customer procedure without insisting that he / she physically present himself in the paying bank, the department said, citing its instructions issued in September 2013 in this regard. The banks will not insist on opening a new account when the spouse already has a joint account with the pensioner and there is permission to pay family pension in the PPO in favor of him, the consolidated guidelines say.
Pension-paying banks also accept Aadhaar-enabled digital life certificate “Jeevan Pramaan” according to the guidelines.
Retirees over 80 can also submit life certificates in the month of October. Life certificate must be submitted by each pensioner / family pensioner in the month of November each year.
“No new disability certificate is required in the case of a child with permanent disability,” the guidelines say.
A disabled child is also required to self-certify each year that he / she has not begun earning his / her livelihood according to the instructions.
If family pension has been sanctioned to a disabled child and the disability is temporary, the parent of such a disabled child must present a disability certificate once every five years, so that he / she continues to suffer from such disorder / disability to continue family pension, say guidelines.
“If the spouse is the recipient of family pension, no marriage certificate is required again to be provided by him / her,” the consolidated guidelines say.
“At the time of commencement of a family pension, a business is obtained from him / her with the effect that in the event of his / her marriage, he / she will immediately report the fact to the paying pension bank,” they said.
However, the childless widow of the deceased government employee and the disabled child of a pensioner / government servant continues to receive family pension, even if they remarry / remarry, cf. the guidelines.
A family pensioner other than spouse must file a non-marriage / non-marriage statement every six months. The family pension ceases if she / he marries / remarries.
The Institute for Pension and Pensioners Welfare has sent instructions to all pension-paying banks to send SMS / emails to all their pensioners on October 24, November 1, November 15 and November 25 each year reminding them to submit their annual life certificates by November 30.
“The department instructed all pension-paying banks to draw up an exemption list, such as December 15, each year, of pensioners who do not provide their life certificates and send out a different SMS / email to them for the life certificate submission,” the guidelines said.
“In addition, the bank will also ask such pensioners via SMS / email if they are interested in presenting life certificate through a taxable doorstep service on a nominal charge not exceeding Rs 60,” they said.
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