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Long-Term Disability Benefits

If you are disabled for more than 26 weeks, you may be eligible for benefits under the Long-Term Disability Plan. (The 26-week period is the elimination period for a long-term disability.) To qualify, you must have been an Active participant in the Clergy Pension Plan immediately prior to the date you were determined to be disabled under the Short-Term Disability Plan, your physician must certify that you are disabled (as defined below), and CPF’s Medical Board, designated as Lincoln Financial Group, must concur.

You will be considered disabled if you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own job for up to the first 24 calendar months following approval of benefits under the Long-Term Disability Plan. After this 24-month period, you will be considered disabled if you are unable to perform any occupation by which you are able to earn at least 80% of your Highest Average Compensation, as determined immediately prior to your disability. Interpersonal conflicts or environmental or other hazards in the workplace will not be a factor considered when determining whether you can perform your own job. CPF may require that any determination of disability be made by an appropriate provider of CPF’s choosing and at CPF’s expense. CPF may also require treatment by what is determined to be an appropriate provider.

Once approved for long-term disability benefits, you will receive the following:

Basic Benefit and Offsets

The monthly long-term disability benefit is equal to 1/12 of 70% of your Highest Average Compensation, as determined immediately prior to your disability.

The long-term disability benefit will be offset by any compensation (excluding passive income); benefits under workers’ compensation laws, occupational disease laws, or similar laws; pension benefits from plans sponsored by CPF; and Social Security disability benefits or other government disability or retirement benefits that you earn or receive, but only if the total amount you receive from all sources exceeds 100% of your Highest Average Compensation as adjusted by cost-of-living increases.

Please note that your Highest Average Compensation for pension purposes will not be affected by the long-term disability benefit paid to you or the cost-of-living increases that may be applied to determine whether any offsets should be applied to the long-term disability benefit.

Basic Benefit and Offsets

Resettlement Benefit

The resettlement benefit will be paid after you have received long-term disability benefits for six months, although it may be paid sooner at the discretion of CPF (for example, if you have a terminal illness). The amount of the resettlement benefit will be determined based on your actual Credited Service as of the date of disability plus projected Credited Service up to age 65.

If you receive a resettlement benefit while disabled and later return to active ministry under the Clergy Pension Plan, you will not be eligible to receive another resettlement benefit when you subsequently retire under the Clergy Pension Plan.

Please note: The Christmas benefit and bridge benefit are not paid if you are on long-term disability.

Resettlement Benefit

Discretionary Cost-of-Living Adjustments

The basic benefit will be subject to any discretionary cost-of-living adjustments that may be approved by CPF’s Board of Trustees during the period of long-term disability.

Discretionary Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Medical Coverage

If you are covered under a medical plan offered through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust at the time you become eligible for a short-term disability benefit, CPF will provide you with medical coverage once you become eligible for long-term disability, at no cost to you, at the same medical coverage level. You will receive fully subsidized coverage for the first 23 months while you are on long-term disability or, if earlier, through the end of the month in which you become eligible for Medicare or long-term disability benefits stop. If the cost to cover your dependents is fully subsidized, coverage for your dependents continues as long as each one meets the eligibility rules under The Episcopal Trust Medical Trust plans.

If you are not eligible for the fully subsidized medical coverage described above when long-term disability benefits begin, but subsequently experience a significant life event which results in the loss of your medical coverage (for example, loss of your spouse’s medical coverage due to a job termination), you may enroll in a medical plan offered through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust within 30 days following that life event. CPF will provide the medical coverage, at no cost to you, for up to the time specified in the paragraph above. For example, if you are covered under your spouse’s medical plan when long-term disability benefits begin, and your spouse loses his or her job 12 months later, CPF will subsidize the cost of your medical coverage for the next 11 months, if you enroll in a medical plan offered through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust.

Medical Coverage

Duration of Long-Term Disability Benefits

In general, you will receive long-term disability benefits for as long as you are disabled or until you elect to take early retirement under the Clergy Pension Plan, attain age 65, or die, whichever occurs first. If you do not begin to receive long-term disability benefits until after age 63, however, your benefits will continue to be paid for as long as you are disabled or, if earlier, until they have been paid for 23 months, you elect to retire, or you die. In no event will the benefit continue beyond the Mandatory Church Retirement Age of 72.

Important note: If you are disabled and reach the required beginning date for your pension under Internal Revenue Service regulations, you will be required to retire under the Clergy Pension Plan. However, in the case of this type of mandatory retirement, you will continue to receive long-term disability benefits for as long as you continue to be eligible (as described above). The pension benefits that you receive may offset the amount of your long-term disability benefits. See Basic Benefit and Offsets for details.

Long-term disability benefits will end:

  • If the benefit is paid for the maximum period described above; or
  • If you are no longer disabled, as defined under the Long-Term Disability Plan; or
  • If you are able to earn 80% or more of your Highest Average Compensation; or
  • If the Long-Term Disability Plan is no longer offered; or
  • In the event of your death.

Duration of Long-Term Disability Benefits

Successive Period of Disability

A successive period of disability is a disability that:

  • Occurs within 120 days after you return to active ministry or are determined to be no longer disabled; and 
  • Is related to the prior disability for which long-term disability benefits were previously paid.

If you receive long-term disability benefits due to a successive period of disability, it will be treated as part of the prior period of disability.

Successive Period of Disability

Credited Service for Long-Term Disability Period

Once approved for long-term disability, you will receive one month of Credited Service (toward both the pension benefit and the Medicare Supplement Health Plan Subsidy) for each month that you receive long-term disability benefits up to age 65 (unless you are subsequently deposed or removed). Assessment payments are not required in order to receive Credited Service.

Disabilities Approved Prior to January 1, 2018
If you were approved for a disability retirement benefit under the Clergy Pension Plan prior to January 1, 2018, your disability retirement benefit will continue to be paid under the terms of the Clergy Pension Plan in effect prior to January 1, 2018. You will not be entitled to a benefit under the Long-Term Disability Plan unless you return to active ministry and subsequently become disabled and meet the eligibility requirements for a long-term disability benefit. Any such subsequent disability will not be considered a successive period of disability.

If you are receiving a disability retirement benefit under the Clergy Pension Plan and have any questions about your benefit, please contact our Client Services group.

Be Sure to File for Social Security Benefits!
If you become disabled, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, which could increase your monthly income and help you to qualify for Medicare and the Medicare Supplement Health Plan Subsidy, when applicable. If you, your spouse, and/or dependent children need assistance with this process, please contact Allsup. (Access to Allsup is available through Lincoln Financial Group.) There is no cost to you for this consultation.

Credited Service for Long-Term Disability Period