Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)
2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustment
The CPF Board of Trustees has approved a 2.0% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the monthly pension benefit for beneficiaries of The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan, effective January 1, 2018.
Letter mailed to all Clergy Pension Plan beneficiaries December 11, 2017
We are pleased to announce that The Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees (CPF Board) has approved a 2.0% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to your monthly pension benefit, effective January 1, 2018. (Please note, if you retired during 2017, the increase is prorated.)
Although not required by plan rules, the CPF Board has generally granted a COLA when inflation has justified it and the financial condition of The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (Clergy Pension Plan) has allowed for it. While we make our own judgments regarding COLAs, it has been our practice to look to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a benchmark to guide our thinking on inflation. Many other organizations, such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), look to the CPI when making decisions about COLAs. In October, the SSA announced a COLA of 2.0%.
Also, to assist retired clergy and their spouses with the rising cost of healthcare, the CPF Board recently approved a 2018 subsidy increase of $15 per eligible member/per month1 for the Medicare Supplement Health Plans available through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust (Medical Trust). The full subsidy for 2018 is $355.
Medicare-eligible retired clergy with 20 or more years of Credited Service, as such term is defined under the Clergy Pension Plan, and their eligible spouses will receive the full subsidy. Those with 10–19 years of Credited Service will receive a partial subsidy. Please visit Medicare Supplement for details. The Medical Trust notified eligible retired clergy and their eligible spouses of this enhancement in October, but if you have any questions, please call us at (800) 480-9967, Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 8:00PM ET, excluding holidays.
We are fortunate to serve those who serve the Church and are grateful to be able to enhance your benefits. We wish you a blessed Advent season.
The Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees
CEO and President
The Church Pension Fund
1 The Church Pension Fund (CPF) plans to continue to provide the Medicare Supplement subsidy. However, CPF must maintain sufficient liquidity and assets to pay its pension and other benefit plan obligations. Given uncertain financial markets and their impact on assets, CPF has reserved the right, in its discretion, to change or discontinue providing a Medicare Supplement subsidy.
What We Consider When Determining COLA
Although not required by plan rules, the CPF Board has granted a COLA to beneficiaries of our defined benefit plans in years when the financial condition of the plans allowed for it. While we make our own decisions as to these increases, we have historically looked to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a benchmark to guide our thinking – a standard that many organizations, such as the Social Security Administration, look to when making decisions about cost of living increases.
The board also considers the funding status of each plan before making its annual COLA decision to ensure that the COLA decision is made in a manner that protects the long-term stability of the plans.