Pension Benefits

The Church Pension Fund provides pension and related benefits to eligible Episcopal clergy and their eligible surviving spouses and beneficiaries, including:

Monthly Benefit

  • For as long as you live
  • Payment amount determined at the time of retirement
  • Based on years of Credited Service and your Highest Average Compensation.
  • You must have at least five years of Credited Service to earn a benefit.

Survivor’s Monthly Benefit

  • If elected at retirement, your eligible spouse or other adult beneficiary will receive a percentage of your monthly benefit (up to 100%) after your death. Go to the active clergy section of this website to review the options you had when you retired. This election is irrevocable after you retire.

UPDATE: Retirement Benefits Available for Same-Gender Spouses

As you know, if you are legally married to a same-gender spouse, your spouse is eligible for full spousal benefits if you earn 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 you are active or retired, we are allowing same-gender spouses to receive full (or partial) spousal benefits if you are legally married and can present an Affidavit of Committed Relationship by December 31, 2017, to show your spouse’s eligibility for benefits. Same-gender surviving spouses of retired participants may also be eligible for spousal benefits under certain circumstances.

If you have already submitted an affidavit and made a spousal benefit election, you do not need to submit another affidavit, and the election that you made will continue to apply. If, however, you previously submitted an affidavit and were not eligible to make a spousal benefit election, please call Client Services to discuss your 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


  • If you receive a disability retirement benefit, benefit election options generally become available when you reach age 65.
  • If you die while receiving a disability retirement benefit, your named beneficiary will receive the pre-retirement survivor benefit. View details:

    What rules apply to a named beneficiary for my pre-retirement benefit?

    If you choose to name someone other than the your spouse as your pre-retirement survivor's benefit beneficiary:

    • You may name up to three beneficiaries who are not your children.
    • If all of the named beneficiaries are your children, there is no limit on the number of beneficiaries.

    If the named beneficiary is not your spouse and is under the age of 22 at the time of your death, the beneficiary will receive the survivor's benefit until he or she reaches age 22 or for a period of five years, whichever occurs later.

    If the named beneficiary is a trust or an estate, the survivor's benefit will be equal to five times the annual benefit payment and will be paid in a single lump sum. If, however, the beneficiary is a special needs trust established for the benefit of a disabled child, the benefit will be paid to the special needs trust for the life of the beneficiary of the trust.

    If you do not have a spouse or children and have not named a beneficiary, no benefit will be paid.

  • If you marry in retirement, your new spouse is not a beneficiary of the Clergy Pension Plan. However, you may purchase a survivor's benefit for your new spouse by permanently reducing your lifetime benefits to reflect the actuarial cost your your survivor's benefit. This election is irrevocable and must be made within 180 days of your marriage.

Dependent Children

For purposes of benefits available under the Clergy Pension Plan, dependent children include:

  • Unmarried eligible children in your immediate family who are under age 25
  • Older children who were disabled before age 25, as approved by The Church Pension Fund

Be sure to report changes regarding dependent or disabled children as soon as possible to protect their benefits.

Life Insurance

  • Provided to eligible clergy retiring directly from active service or with 25 years of Credited Service
  • Amount of coverage is equal to four times your Highest Average Compensation
    • Minimum $10,000; maximum $50,000

For information about continuing the coverage you had as an active clergy member, consult the Guide to Benefits Under the Clergy Pension Plan, p. 20.

Christmas Benefit

  • $25 for each year of Credited Service — up to a maximum of $1,000.
  • Eligible beneficiaries receive $20 for each year of of your Credited Service — up to a maximum of $800.
  • Surviving eligible children receive an amount equal to their monthly benefit.

Resettlement Benefit

  • To help you relocate when you retire, you receive for a one-time payment equal to 12 times your monthly retirement benefit (maximum of $20,000).
  • At a minimum, this benefit is $100 for each year of Credited Service, up to a maximum of $2,000.
  • You are eligible for this benefit if you retire from active status or have earned at least 18 months of Credited Service in the 24 months before you retire.
  • You can decide to:

    • Take the benefit immediately in a lump sum payment,
    • Move the money into your Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP) account, or
    • Move the money into another retirement plan of your choice.

1An RSVP account can be opened for you if you do not have one — but not for your beneficiary.

Post-Retirement Health Benefits

If you earned 10 years or more of Credited Service, you are eligible for the subsidized Medicare Supplement plans through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust.

The Church Pension Fund plans to continue to provide post-retirement health benefit assistance. However, given the rising cost of medical care coupled with the uncertainty regarding the structure of Medicare in the future, this should not be viewed as a guarantee of a post-retirement health benefit assistance program in perpetuity.


Health benefits are offered through plans maintained by Church Pension Group Services Corporation (doing business as The Episcopal Church Medical Trust), 19 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.

The Episcopal Church Medical Trust Disclaimer

Pensions Disclaimer

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