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Common Questions

How do I access my Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP) account?

To access your RSVP account, click here

To find out more about your investment and distribution options, see RSVP in Transition.

Was a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) granted for 2017?

The CPF Board of Trustees has approved a 0.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the monthly pension benefit for beneficiaries of The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan, effective January 1, 2017. Please note, the increase will be prorated for those who retired with a 2016 retirement date.

Read more.

Am I guaranteed an annual cost–of–living increase?

No. The Board of Trustees grants cost-of-living increases at its discretion. This decision is made annually and communicated to all plan participants by mid-December. For information about cost-of-living increases for the current year, see COLA.

How much of my pension benefit can I exclude as a housing allowance for tax purposes?

You may exclude from taxable income the portion of those benefits that are used for housing expenses. For details, please download:

How do I withhold state taxes from my pension benefit?

The monthly earning statement you receive from Northern Trust includes a section for choosing federal and state withholding. To begin or change your withholding, make the appropriate election on the statement and return it no later than the 15th of the month to:

The Church Pension Fund
c/o Client Services
19 East 34th Street
New York, NY 10016

Can I choose another beneficiary if my spouse was eligible for survivor's benefits and dies before I do?

No. This one-time election is made at the time you retire. Once you begin receiving your retirement benefits, your election is irrevocable.
  • If you marry after 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 of your survivor's benefit. This election is irrevocable and must be made within 180 days of your marriage.

Can I elect another beneficiary if I elected the 10- or 15-Year Certain & Continuous Option and my designated beneficiary has died?

Yes, as long as the 10- or 15-year "certain" period has not expired. For example, if you elected the 10-year Certain and Continuous Option on July 1, 2004, and your beneficiary dies on April 14, 2007, you can choose another beneficiary because the "certain" period will not expire until July 1, 2014.

Am I still eligible for the lump sum death benefit after I retire?

No. The lump sum death benefit is only available to eligible plan participants who have not retired.

If I receive a very small monthly benefit from the plan, can I cash it out and receive a lump sum payment?

No. The Clergy Pension Plan provides you with monthly benefits for life and, if applicable, for the life of your spouse or named beneficiary.

What if I die while receiving a Disability Retirement Benefit?

If you die before age 65 while receiving a Disability Retirement Benefit, your eligible surviving spouse or other named beneficiaries will receive a pre-retirement survivor’s benefit. This pre-retirement survivor’s benefit is generally equal to 50% of the pension benefit you would have received at your normal retirement date based on your projected Credited Service to age 65 and your Highest Average Compensation.

For details on pre-retirement benefits, please visit Survivor’s Benefits (in the Active Clergy section of this website).

Can I name a trust or my estate as my beneficiary at retirement?

No. Upon retirement, you must name an individual as the beneficiary of any retirement benefit option you choose.

My claim for a Disability Retirement Benefit has been denied. What are my next steps?

If you believe that you have been denied a Disability Retirement Benefit that you are due under the Clergy Pension Plan, you have the option to file an appeal. Download information on the claims and appeals process.

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