Death Before Retirement

Surviving Spouse Benefit

  • If a cleric dies before his or her earliest retirement date, the spouse receives 50% of the cleric's retirement benefit.
  • If the cleric was eligible for retirement at the time of death, the spouse receives either:
    • 50% of the cleric's pension benefit if the cleric had lived to 65, or
    • 100% of the retirement benefit for which the cleric was eligible at the time of death.

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.

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


Surviving Child Benefit

  • Unmarried dependent children younger than 25 are eligible.
  • The benefit is doubled if both parents die.
  • If the cleric's Credited Service is less than 15 years, the benefit is reduced by 1/15 for each year less than 15.
    • For example, if a cleric dies with only 12 years of Credited Service, the surviving child benefit would be reduced by 3/15

Surviving Disabled Child Benefit

Disabled dependent children are eligible if:

  • They are permanently disabled – physically or mentally.
  • They were disabled before age 25.
  • They do not receive full benefits or care from a tax-supported institution.

Contact the Medical Trust for forms and information regarding the process for disability certification.

Lump Sum Death Benefit

  • A cleric's beneficiary or estate receives a lump sum of $5,000 If:
    • The cleric dies before retirement.
    • The cleric had at least 25 years of Credited Service.

Life Insurance

Four times the cleric's current total compensation – up to $100,000

Pensions Disclaimer

Right Rail

Need Help?

Call Client Services for assistance
(855) 215-5990
Monday – Friday
8:30AM – 8:00PM ET
(excluding holidays)

Fax Number
(877) 4-FAX-CPG
(877) 432-9274

Looking for more information, see At-A-Glance Contact List