Other Post-Retirement Benefits
In addition to pension payments, eligible retired clergy may receive or have access to the following additional benefits:
- Resettlement Benefit
- Christmas Benefit
- Discretionary Cost-of-Living Adjustments
- Fund for Special Assistance
- Life Insurance Coverage (described in the section If You Die After You Retire)
This section provides information about each benefit (other than life insurance coverage), including who is eligible and benefit amounts.
The Clergy Pension Plan provides a resettlement benefit to help eligible clergy relocate when they retire. Here is how it works:
- You are eligible if you are an Active participant in the Clergy Pension Plan immediately prior to retirement.
- The resettlement benefit equals 12 times your monthly pension benefit based on your normal form of payment.
- If eligible, you will receive a resettlement benefit ranging from a minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $20,000.
- The resettlement benefit is only payable when you first retire under the Clergy Pension Plan or, if applicable, after you receive long-term disability benefits for six months (or sooner, in certain cases). If you later return to active ministry, you will not be eligible to receive the resettlement benefit when you re-retire, even if you did not receive it when you first retired.
- You may receive the resettlement benefit as a lump sum cash payment when you retire or roll it over to an eligible retirement plan or individual retirement account.
- The resettlement benefit is considered taxable income in the year it is received if it is paid directly to you at retirement. However, as with many of the benefits provided by the Clergy Pension Plan, the resettlement benefit may be eligible for the housing allowance exclusion under the Internal Revenue Code. You should talk to your personal accountant or tax advisor to learn more.
Each December during your retirement, the Clergy Pension Plan will provide a Christmas benefit (or 13th check) equal to $25 times your Credited Service.
In the event of your death, your survivor beneficiary, if you have one, and your eligible children will also receive a Christmas benefit each December equal to $25 times your Credited Service.
Discretionary Cost-of-Living Adjustments
Although not required by plan rules, the CPF Board of Trustees has generally granted a cost-of-living adjustment when inflation has justified it and the financial condition of the Clergy Pension Plan has allowed for it. While we make our own judgments regarding cost-of-living adjustments, it has been our practice to look to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index as a benchmark to guide our thinking on inflation. Many other organizations, such as the Social Security Administration, look to the Consumer Price Index when making decisions about cost-of-living adjustments. We realize the Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living adjustment decision may not be a perfect proxy for retiree living expenses in every case, but it is the most well-recognized and objective measure available, so we continue to see value in referring to it when making our decision.
Fund for Special Assistance
The Fund for Special Assistance has been created for the relief of specific and extraordinary financial needs. Specifically, it has been created to provide grants ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000 per request. Retired clergy, surviving spouses, and dependents who are experiencing a specific financial challenge and are also receiving benefits from the Clergy Pension Plan, Long-Term Disability Plan, or Child Benefit Plan are eligible for grants. There is a maximum lifetime benefit of $20,000 per eligible individual, and there are other limits on the total annual amount that can be granted under the Fund for Special Assistance. Learn more [Link to website — document titled "Fund for Special Assistance"]
Grants are not intended to pay for education expenses or long-term care expenses addressed by Medicaid or Medicare. The bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese where the applicant resides or is canonically resident must submit a form in support of the applicant’s request. The diocese must also agree to pay 10% of the grant unless waived by CPF. Each applicant must then complete and submit an application and a financial disclosure statement.