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Disability Retirement Clergy Benefit

Imagine you are diagnosed with a severe illness or injury that will most likely prevent you from ever being able to return to work. Could you afford to retire?

Eligibility

If you are an active participant or a vested inactive participant in the Clergy Pension Plan, you may be eligible for a disability retirement benefit under the Clergy Pension Plan.

Your physician, your bishop, and Liberty Mutual*, which has been designated as The Church Pension Fund Medical Board for the Clergy Pension Plan, must agree that your disability is total and continuing, and your case may be reviewed annually until you reach age 65. Should your condition improve after one year to the point where you can return to work part-time, you may be eligible to receive a partial benefit. If your condition has not improved by the time you are 65, normal retirement benefits will commence and continue for life.

Basic Disability Benefit

  • If you are active when you become disabled, the basic disability benefit is determined by the formula for Normal Retirement, based on your Highest Average Compensation and Credited Service projected to age 65.
  • If you are inactive and vested when you become disabled, the basic disability benefit is based on your Highest Average Compensation and Credited Service earned up to the date you stopped actively working in The Episcopal Church.

Disability Enhancement Amount

If you are an active participant at the time of your disability, the basic disability benefit plus the disability enhancement provide you with a benefit equal to 70% of your compensation (or Highest Average Compensation, if applicable) until you reach age 65. At age 65, the enhancement is discontinued.

Bridge Benefit

If you are receiving a basic disability benefit from the Plan, you will also receive a monthly “bridge benefit” to help cover the cost of medical expenses. This monthly benefit equals $17.50 times the number of years of Credited Service earned and, if applicable, projected Credited Service. The benefit is paid until the earlier of:

  • the month following the month you reach age 65, or
  • the month following the month you become Medicare eligible

Allsup

The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be daunting and confusing. Allsup is available at no cost to clergy receiving a disability retirement benefit from the Clergy Pension Plan. Access to Allsup is also available to assist the spouse and dependent children of these clergy.

Applying for Disability Retirement

To apply for this benefit, you or your designated representative should call Client Services at (866) 802-6333, Monday through Friday, 8:30AM - 8:00PM ET (excluding holidays). If you believe that you have been denied a benefit that you are due under the Clergy Pension Plan, you have the option to file an appeal.  Download information on the claims and appeals process.

* The Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty Mutual)

Pensions Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the www.cpg.org domain are not associated with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (collectively, the Church Pension Group) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such websites.