Along with the extension of various tax deadlines recently, the submission of life certificate by pensioners was also extended to February 28, 2021, from November 30, 2020. For continued credit of the pension amount, a life certificate has to be submitted by this date. It can be done via online mode, through a Citizen Service Centre/Aadhaar Seva Kendra, by visiting any branch of the respective bank, or via doorstep banking. Given Covid risks and related restrictions, it may be easier to get it done online.
What is it?
A life certificate is a proof of existence produced to an authorised pension distributor or agency such as bank or post office by an individual stating that he/she is alive. The government and insurance companies insist on this certificate before making pension or annuity payments. This is to ensure that the organisation doesn’t continue payments after the death of a pensioner. The certificate is usually required annually.
To get this life certificate, the individual drawing the pension is required to be personally present before the pension disbursing agency. Alternatively, pensioners can have the life certificate issued by the authority they served earlier (in a prescribed format) and have it delivered to the disbursing agency. However, with the outbreak of pandemic, digital life certificate (DLC) is sufficient proof for pension payments.
Why is it important?
A life certificate helps to ensure the credit of pension without any break as it may be the only source of income for many retired individuals. However, the requirement of physical presence of the pensioner to the disbursing agency often becomes a major hurdle due to old age or poor health condition.
To provide relief to pensioners from physical verification, the Centre launched Jeevan Pramaan, or digital life certificate, for pensioners in 2014 where the entire process gets completed digitally. Any pension sanctioning authority, including railways, EPFO, RBI and State/Central government, if on-boarded to Jeevan Pramaan, is eligible for obtaining DLC. The list of the authorities can be found in the Jeevan Pramaan website.
Similarly, insurance companies such as Bajaj Allianz Life, too, have started accepting DLC and have made the entire process online.
DLC, however, is not valid for life. The validity is as per rules specified by the pension sanctioning authorities and insurance companies. Once the validity period is over, a new DLC needs to be obtained. Also, in the case of government organisations, a pensioner who is re-employed or re-married is not eligible for DLC.
Why should I care?
DLC helps avoid the hassle of visiting the branch as the life certificate is generated digitally and automatically transferred to the pension disbursing agency. This helps save a lot of time and prevents unnecessary delay.
DLC can be obtained from any location using mobile phone/laptop/PC. A pensioner can download the Jeevan Pramaan app and fill in the required details. The details include Aadhaar number, name, mobile number, and pension-related information including account number, bank details and name of the pension sanctioning authority.
Jeevan Pramaan uses the Aadhaar platform for online biometric authentication. Biometrics here include either your iris or your fingerprint. You will get an ID, which is directly used for processing your pension automatically. Alternatively, pensioners can visit one of the citizen service centres nearby or nearest bank/post office for submitting proof digitally. Some of the banks provide doorstep banking services where DLC is also included.
In the case of an insurance policy, the policyholder should come on a video call or provide biometric authentication for proof of life. Keep in mind that any incorrect information may lead to rejection of the DLC by the authorities.
This is one digital initiative seniors may welcome.
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