Cost of Coverage
Your employer funds the Clergy Pension Plan and all other benefits provided by CPF through Assessments. However, there are certain situations when you may personally pay Assessments.
The CPF Board of Trustees sets the Assessment rate, which is 18% of your Total Assessable Compensation. This means that every month, your employer is required to pay 18% of 1/12 of your projected annual Total Assessable Compensation. If you have multiple employers, each one is billed based on the portion of your Total Assessable Compensation that it pays or provides to you.
A Word About Funding*
The timely payment of Assessments is critical, since they fund the benefits that CPF provides to eligible clergy and their beneficiaries. All Assessments (contributed by employers and clergy) are pooled together and invested by CPF. When you retire, you generally will receive a monthly pension benefit for the rest of your life. After you die, the Clergy Pension Plan may also provide ongoing benefits for your eligible surviving family members. Since pension benefits are based on a formula, the amount of your benefit will not be affected by CPF’s investment performance.
Important note: We strongly encourage you to monitor whether your employer is paying Assessments in a timely manner. Late Assessment payments may accrue interest, and mean that you will not:
- Earn Credited Service unless and until Assessments are paid in full.
- Receive all the benefits for which you and your family may be eligible because your status (Active/Inactive) under the Clergy Pension Plan may be impacted.
* The Constitution and Canons mandate that employers that are subject to the authority of the Church, or employers that are associated with the Church and that elect to participate in the Clergy Pension Plan, make Assessment payments to CPF on behalf of eligible Episcopal clergy.
All Assessments are due on the last day of the month for which they are billed. If your employer does not pay the full Assessment when it is due, interest will be applied as follows:
- Prior to January 1, 2019, interest will be charged on Assessments that are overdue by more than two calendar years. The annual rate used to calculate interest is the Clergy Pension Plan’s discount rate, which – as of 2017 – is 4.125%.
- Beginning on January 1, 2019, interest will be charged on Assessments that are three months or more overdue. In addition, the annual rate used to calculate interest will increase to 7%, which is consistent with CPF’s investment objective. The rate is subject to periodic review.
Please note that CPF will not accept late Assessment payments unless the accrued interest is also paid. Once you retire under the Clergy Pension Plan, however, no Assessments will be accepted.
You may choose to personally pay Assessments when you have a break in service. This means you can pay Assessments to maintain your eligibility for benefits if you are:
- Currently between cures; or
- Not receiving compensation from your employer for any reason (for example, an unpaid leave of absence); or
- Suspended or restricted from exercising ministry in the Church.
Personal Assessments may be paid for up to 24 months and must begin on the first day of the month immediately following the last month in which you were employed and/or earned compensation. However, if you are deposed or removed before the end of the 24-month period, personal Assessments must stop by the end of the month in which your deposition or removal occurs.
Personal Assessments equal 18% of the Hypothetical Minimum Compensation* or your Highest Average Compensation (you can decide which one) and are billed monthly. Once you make a choice and have paid the personal Assessment owed, you cannot retroactively change your choice if it would decrease the amount on which you personally paid Assessments. (You may, however, retroactively “buy-up” to the higher amount.)
Personal Assessments are due by the end of the month for which they are billed. If you do not pay the full Assessment when due, interest may be applied.
* Effective January 1, 2018, the Hypothetical Minimum Compensation used under the Clergy Pension Plan will be $18,000 per year (or $1,500 per month) and is subject to periodic review.
Important to Know
- If you are not currently employed and enrolled in the Clergy Pension Plan and more than six calendar months have passed following your last day of employment (please refer to the definition of Active), your status under the Clergy Pension Plan will become Inactive if each month’s Assessment is not paid in full when due. In other words, in order to remain Active once the six-month grace period following a termination of employment ends, you must pay personal Assessments beginning with the month immediately following your termination of employment through the current month.
- If you experience a break in service and do not personally pay Assessments, you and your family may lose eligibility for benefits in the event of your disability or death. This is because personal Assessments generally will not be accepted by CPF after you become disabled or following your death. If you have a break in service, you are strongly encouraged to pay personal Assessments when they are due.
Please contact our Client Services group to discuss your personal situation.