Citing the grievances faced by the pensioners, the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare has issued a consolidate guidelines to banks for disbursing pensions. This move aims to benefit 65 lakh pensioners in the country.
"It has been observed that updated and consolidated instructions will help improve the processing of pensioner's requests by banks and others," the department said in an order.
From submission of life certificate to banks insisting spouse to open separate bank accounts — the new set of instructions are on various issues. The department asked all banks to make pensioners aware of these new rules by putting up the list on their websites and bank branches.
Here are the new guidelines:
On visiting the bank for first pension: The banks shall not insist the pensioner to visit branch for the credit of his first pension. The presence of the pensioner is not mandatory to activate their pension account.
If the pensioner dies: On death or a pensioner, the spouse is not required to submit form 14, if he or she was having a joint account with the pensioner and authorization for payment of family pension exists in the Pension Payment Order (PPO) in his or her favour. The spouse will need to submit a copy of the death certificate to the pension paying branch in order to commence his/her family pension.
On opening a separate accounts for spouse: Banks will not insist the spouse to open a new account for getting family pension when he/she was having a joint account with the pensioner.
Banks need to identify the family of pensioners: If the pensioner dies, the banks have to identify the family of pensioners based on the information furnished in the PPO and its own know your customer procedure without insisting him/her to physically present himself/herself in the paying bank.
On non-earning certificate: A family pensioner, other than spouse, has to submit a declaration of non-earning his/her livelihood every year in November. This declaration is, however, not required from the spouse for continuing his/her family pension.
On marriage or remarriage: A family pensioner, other than spouse, has to submit a declaration of non-marriage in every six months. The family pension is discontinued if she/he gets married/re-married. If the spouse is a recipient of family pension, no certificate of remarriage is required to be furnished by him/her, new guidelines mentioned
"At the time of commencement of family pension, an undertaking will be obtained from him/her to the effect that in the event of his/her re marriage, he/she will report the fact to the pension disbursing bank promptly," the rules said.
When to submit life certificate: Life certificate has to be submitted by every pensioner/family pensioners in November every year. The pension releasing bank will also accept Aadhar enabled Digital Life Certificate Jeevan Pramaan. Those who are 80 years and above can submit life certificate in October as well.
Submission of disability certificate: "No fresh certificate of disability would be required in the case of a child with permanent disability," the guidelines said. A disabled child will also be required to self-certify every year that he/she has not started earning his/her livelihood.
If family pension has been sanctioned to a disabled child and the disability is temporary, the guardian of such disabled child shall produce a disability certificate once in every five years to the effect that he/she continues to suffer from such disorder /disability in order to continue family pension, according to the instructions.
Notify pensioners to submit life certificate: The department has issued directions to all the pension disbursing banks to send SMS/email to all their pensioners on October 24, November 1, November 15 and November 25 of every year reminding them to submit their annual life certificates by 30th November.
Obtaining of life certificate from the doorstep of the pensioners: On December 1 every year, the banks will make a list of the people who fall to submit their life certificates. The should be notified by another round of SMS/email.
The bank in addition will also ask such pensioners through SMS/email whether they are interested in submission of life certificate through a chargeable door-step service, on a nominal charge not exceeding ₹60," the guidelines said.