In October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Universal Account Number (UAN) as means of moving towards digitising government services. The UAN is a 12-digit, unique identification number generated by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) that links the multiple Employee Provident Fund (EPF) accounts held by an EPF contributor to a single point of reference.  

Since its initial launch, having a UAN has become mandatory for all EPF contributors. The UAN can be used by all EPF contributors to access information about their EPF accounts such as finding out their EPF balance and filing withdrawal claims.  

Obtaining your UAN  

Post 2014, all employers have been mandated by the EPFO to provide their employees with the UAN that has been generated by the retirement body for each EPF contributor. In most cases, employees can find their UAN printed on their salary slips along with their PF account number. In cases where an employee is unaware of their UAN number, it can be generated by following the steps listed below: 

  1. Visit the official EPFO website and click on the option titled ‘Important Links’ followed by ‘Know your UAN status‘ 

  1. Enter your PF account number followed by the state, regional PF office and all your basic information.  

  1. Click on the button ‘Get authorisation PIN’ 

  1. An OTP will be sent to your registered mobile number. You will have to enter the PIN in the space provided and click on the button titled ‘Validate OTP and get UAN’. 

  1. Your UAN will then be sent to your registered mobile number.  

Activating your UAN  

After you obtain your UAN it has to be activated in order to avail the services of the EPFO.  The steps to activate a UAN are listed below: 

  • Visit the EPFO website and select on the menu labelled ‘For Employees’  

  • Next, choose the option titled ‘Our Services’.  

  • Under the ‘Our Services’ menu select the option titled ‘Member UAN/Online Services.’  

  • You will then be redirected to the UAN portal, and will have to choose the option ‘Activate your UAN’.  

  • A form will have to be filled out in order to generate the authorisation PIN which has been sent to your registered mobile number through SMS.  

  • Enter the PIN sent to your registered mobile number and click on the option ‘Activate UAN’ 

  • When the UAN is activated, an SMS will be sent to your mobile number confirming its activation.  

  • Additionally, you will also receive a password to access your EPF account information through the UAN portal.  

  • The password can be changed after the UAN has been successfully activated.  

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Linking older PF accounts 

The primary reason the UAN was introduced was to help EPF subscribers consolidate all their EPF accounts under one common point of reference. In case your older PF accounts from previous employers have not been linked to your UAN, you can do it yourself on the EPFO website. The following are the steps to link your old EPF accounts with your UAN: 

  1. Visit the EPFO web portal and click on the ‘Services’ tab and choose the ‘One Employee – One EPF Account’ option.  

  1. You must then login using your UAN and the mobile number registered with the EPFO.  

  1. Enter the OTP sent to your mobile number to proceed.  

  1. You will be redirected to the form for consolidating PF accounts.  

  1. Enter your old PF account number, accept the declaration at the bottom of the form, and click the submit button.  

  1. The request is then sent to the EPFO and the merging of the PF accounts is completed within 3 days.  

Points to keep in mind before linking EPF account to UAN:  

  • In order to carry out this process, it is essential that your KYC details and Aadhaar details registered and updated on the EPFO portal.  

  • It is also important for your UAN to be activated and verified. If your UAN is not activated, you will not be able to consolidate your PF accounts.   

Using the UAN on the EPFO portal 

EPF subscribers can access information of their EPF account using their UAN. Apart from the EPFO website, subscribers can also use the UMANG app that contains services for various government-run schemes and programmes. The following services can be availed on either one of these platforms once your UAN is activated and the KYC procedure is complete: 

Checking EPF balance  

The EPFO allows subscribers to view the balance in their EPF account via a passbook. The EPF passbook contains information about the contributions made by the employer and the employee towards the EPF. It also contains information about the deposits made towards the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS).  

The following steps list the procedure for checking the balance in an EPF account using the EPFO website: 

  1. Login to the EPFO website using your UAN and password 

  1. Select the ‘For Employees’ menu and click on the ‘Our Services’ option.  

  1. Under the ‘Our Services’ option, select the option titled ‘Member Passbook’.  

  1. You will then be redirected to the passbook. The passbook can only be accessed when you enter your UAN and password.  

  1. You will then be able to view the contributions made across all EPF accounts. A PDF version of your EPF passbook can be downloaded and saved. 

The following steps can be used to view your passbook using the UMANG app: 

  1. Open the EPFO app and choose the option ‘Employee Centric Services’ 

  1. Select the option ‘View/Download Passbook’ 

  1. Enter the OTP sent to your registered mobile number to view the passbook 

Filing withdrawal claims  

The EPFO website and UMANG app can also be used to file withdrawal claims using your UAN. The following are the steps for filing a withdrawal claim on the EPFO website: 

  • Login to the EPFO portal using your UAN and password. 

  • You will be required to verify your KYC details and this can be done by clicking on the ‘Manage’ tab. 

  • Click on the ‘Our Services’ tab and followed by the option titled ‘Claim’ from the drop-down menu.  

  • Click on the section titled ‘I Want to Apply For’ and choose the type of withdrawal claim—full withdrawal, partial withdrawal or pension withdrawal. The drop-down menu will only display withdrawals if you are eligible for it.  

  • Once the form is filled out, the claim is then forwarded to your employer for attestation.  

  • If  approved, the money will be credited to your bank account within 10 days.  

In addition to being a convenient method of consolidating PF accounts, the UAN is also a good method of aiding in transparency and digitisation of government services. Furthermore, since the introduction of the UAN, the amount of time taken for claim settlement and grievance redressal has also decreased.  

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