Where do unclaimed funds from PPF, NSC, SCSS go and how do you track them?

The Public Provident Fund (PPF), the National Savings Certificate (NSC) and the Old People’s Savings Scheme (SCSS) are among the most popular fixed income instruments on the market. These are small government-backed savings plans, few of which offer tax advantages.

Investors are spoiled for choice when it comes to investing and sometimes simply forget about those accounts that have long maturity periods. Government regulations require the relevant investment authorities to notify investors of their accounts, but over time many account holders become untraceable as they change addresses or phone numbers or both and fail to update information with investment authorities.

These unclaimed funds are moved to different government funds after a specific period of time. Account holders and policyholders can claim their money directly from these funds.

For example, unclaimed money from bank fixed deposits is transferred to the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF), unclaimed money from insurance, PPF and EPF is transferred to the Welfare for the Elderly (SCWF), and unclaimed money from mutual funds and stocks is transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF).

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Know where your unclaimed money is:

Senior Welfare Fund (SCWF)

The SCW Fund holds unclaimed deposits from PPFs, Postal Savings Accounts, EPF, RD and other similar accounts. This welfare fund was established in 2015 to use unused unclaimed funds for a productive cause and in the general welfare of society. Usually after the maturity of an investment or after the end of the mandate, before transferring the unclaimed money, the insurers contact the account holders / the agent.

In the case of insurance money, for example, if the money remains unclaimed after 10 years from the due date, then it is transferred to the elderly welfare fund. Beneficiaries will be able to claim money from their policies for up to 25 years from the date they were transferred to the Senior Citizen’s Welfare Fund (SCWF).
However, if claims have not been made until a period of 25 years after the transfer to the SCW fund, these unclaimed amounts are transferred to the central government, in accordance with section 126 of the Finance Act 2015. According to the Department of Finance, funds from the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund are used to benefit the elderly.

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How to find details of Unclaimed Small Savings Accounts on Indian Post website?

Visit the Indian Post website and click on “Banking and Remittance”. On this page, select Postal Savings Plan. And then select Senior Citizen Welfare Fund.
You will get a list based on accounts such as Savings Bank, PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra, etc., and once you click on account type, you will find account details by state.

How does the provident fund work?

According to the rules of the Provident Fund, the institution (in this case, the post office) must, on an annual basis, identify unclaimed funds and make deposits to the Fund no later than March 1 of each year.

“Transfers by Institutions are made on a net basis, ie unclaimed deposits less receivables accepted in accordance with applicable law, from accounts whose balances have already been transferred to the fund,” as per the rule.