A WhatsApp text claims families of those who succumbed to COVID-19 are eligible for Rs 2 lakh insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). In order to check eligibility, the message asks people to check if Rs 330 (under PMJJBY) and Rs 12 (under PMSBY) were deducted between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

The complete text reads, “Please Note Important Notice: If someone in a close relative/friends circle has died due to Covid-19 or for any reason, ask the bank for an account statement or passbook entry from 01-04 to 31-03 of the financial year. Seeing the entry of Rs. 12/- or Rs. 330/ — mark it. Go to the bank and Claim for Insurance Rs 200000. In the Year 2015, the Government of INDIA provided Two Insurance Schemes to the Savings Account Holders of All the Banks: Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) at Rs 330 and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) at Rs 12. 2 Lakh Rupees Many of Us might have Filled this Form. The premium will also be Debited from their Account on 31/05. This is an awareness message Thanks & Regards.”

Alt News has received multiple verification requests for the message on our WhatsApp helpline (76000 11160) and our mobile application. Download our mobile application to send such forwards for verification. (Android, iOS)

Misleading WhatsApp text

The details of PMJJBY and PMSBY insurance policies were launched in 2015 under Jan Dhan – Jan Suraksha Yojana initiatives for providing social security at affordable premiums to citizens who have savings bank accounts. The policy details are provided on the website of the Department of Financial Services. PMJJBY offers insurance against death due to any reason while the PMSBY insures against accidental death and full or partial disability.

The following comparative table explains the salient points about the two insurance policies, including ₹330 per annum instalment for PMJJBY and ₹12 per annum instalment for PMSBY.

In April 2020, as a response to combat COVID-19, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) published a press note that said, “LIC of India has assured its policyholders that the death claims arising due to COVID-19 shall be treated at par with other causes of death and payments shall be made on an urgent basis.” Several media reports from this period confirm the same. Readers should note LIC offers PMJJBY as per the Department of Financial Services.

In September 2020, Press Information Bureau (PIB) published a press note by the Ministry of Women and Child Development that listed insurance policies and other schemes that provide support during the pandemic. This lists PMJJBY but not PMSBY. Thus, only PMJJBY provides insurance against COVID-19. Moneycontrol reported that between April 1 and October 9, ₹61 lakh PMJJBY policy has been sold in FY21 due to COVID-19.

The viral text message was debunked by PIB last year. PIB Fact Check tweeted, “PMSBY doesn’t cover COVID related deaths, while PMJJBY covers COVID deaths with certain conditions.”

In order to understand the terms and conditions of PMJJBY, we called the Jan-Dhan Se Jan Suraksha helpline number and were informed, “In case of death due to any reason the insured sum of Rs 2 lakhs is provided if the insurer’s age is below 55 years and auto-debit feature is enabled.” The lastest official PMJJBY frequently asked questions document dates to 2016. It states the assurance on the life of the member shall terminate on attaining age 55 years.

Several social media users claimed that the family of those who succumbed to COVID-19 are eligible for coverage of ₹2 lakhs under government insurance policies Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). This text is misleading because only PMJJBY offers coverage against COVID-19 deaths subject to certain conditions.

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About the Author

Archit is a fact-checking journalist at Alt News since November 2019. Previously, he has worked as a producer at a TV news channel and as a reporter at a leading English-language daily. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at an NGO.