Banks have been instructed to disburse pension expeditiously to ensure "ease of living" for the elderly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said on Friday. Instructions have also been issued that in case of death of a pensioner, the spouse or the family member should not be subjected to any inconvenience by seeking unnecessary details and documents, and instead the family pension should be disbursed at the earliest, he said.
Briefing about a circular issued by the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare, Singh said that some instances have been brought to the notice of the department wherein on the death of a pensioner, the family members were asked by the disbursing banks to submit various details and documents, which are otherwise not required for commencement of family pension.
He said the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to ensuring "ease of living" for all, including the pensioners, and therefore, such inconvenience to the elderly citizens has to be avoided, particularly during the time of the pandemic, according to a Personnel Ministry statement.
In a communique to the heads to all pension disbursing banks, it has been instructed that without causing harassment to the family members of the pensioner, the family pension should be commenced on the production of the death certificate and in case where the pensioner had a joint account with his or her spouse, submission of a simple letter or application should suffice.
In cases where the spouse did not have a joint account with the pensioner, a simple application in Form-14 bearing the signature of two witnesses should be held valid for commencement of family pension, it said.
The Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare (DOPPW) has also instructed the banks to conduct special awareness programmes to sensitise the officers concerned in order to make them aware of the latest instructions as well as for compassionate handling of family pension cases.
It has also been instructed that the bank websites should prominently display the name and contact details of a nodal officer who can be contacted by a family pensioner in the event of any inconvenience faced in processing family pension cases after the death of the pensioner.
In addition, a half-yearly statement on progress of sanction of family pension cases may be submitted to the department of pension in the prescribed format, the statement said.