Life Changes & Pension
Significant life events may result in a change in pension benefits and must be reported to the Church Pension Group as soon as possible.
- Clergy pensions are portable within the Episcopal Church and its agencies.
- Pension benefits may change based on new compensation.
- Clerics need to submit a New Assignment Notice to The Church Pension Fund.
Before Retirement: Spouses of active clergy are beneficiaries of The Church Pension Fund. However, a marriage close to retirement could affect a spouse's benefits.
After Retirement: If a cleric marries after retirement, the new spouse is not a beneficiary of the clergy pension plan. However, within 180 days of marriage, the cleric may choose to provide a survivor’s benefit.
Same-Gender Spouses: The Clergy Pension Plan provides benefits for legally-married same-gender spouses of plan participants.
UPDATE: Retirement Benefits Available for Same-Gender Spouses
As you may know, for clergy who are legally married to a same-gender spouse, the spouse is eligible for full spousal benefits if the cleric earns at least three years of credited service while married.
Acknowledging that same-gender marriage was only recently recognized nationally, and also in response to General Convention Resolution 2015-D047, we are relaxing eligibility requirements for same-gender spouses until December 31, 2017. Specifically, whether clergy are active or retired, we are allowing same-gender spouses of clergy to receive full (or partial) spousal benefits if they are legally married and can present an Affidavit of Committed Relationship by December 31, 2017, to show their spouse's eligibility for benefits. Same-gender surviving spouses of retired participants may also be eligible for spousal benefits under certain circumstances.
- Download the Affidavit of Committed Relationship
- Download the Affidavit of Support of Committed Relationship
Clergy who have already submitted an affidavit and made a spousal benefit election do not need to submit another affidavit, and the election they made will continue to apply. If, however, a cleric previously submitted an affidavit and was not eligible to make a spousal benefit election, he or she should call Client Services to discuss his or her specific situation.
We are making every effort to communicate this opportunity to everyone. Please share this information with those you think might benefit from it. Please call the Client Services team at (866) 802-6333, Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 8:00PM ET (excluding holidays) for more information, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View details about marriage and pension benefits.
Before Retirement: A cleric’s divorce settlement may impact their pension benefits by requiring some of the cleric’s pension to be paid to their former spouse.
After Retirement: If a cleric divorces after retirement and is receiving a joint and survivor annuity pension benefit, his or her former spouse:
- Automatically receives the pension’s survivor benefit.
- May be entitled to receive a portion of the cleric’s pension (as determined by the divorce decree).
View details about divorce and pension benefits.
When a cleric moves, he must submit the Change of Address Form to The Church Pension Fund.
New Family Member
Clerics must submit the Personal Status/Changes form and relevant documentation to The Church Pension Fund if:
- They have a new dependent through birth or adoption
- A dependent child under 25 gets married
- A dependent child passes away
- Their spouse passes away