Working While Pensioned
When you retire, you may serve in the Episcopal Church and continue to receive pension benefits as long as:
- You are in good standing with the Episcopal Church
- You will not be working in the church or institution from which you have retired
- Your total compensation from Episcopal Church-related income for any 12 month period does not exceed $37,700, effective January 1, 2017 ($38,250 effective January 1, 2018).
If you are age 72 or older, you may serve in the Episcopal Church with no restrictions on income.
Work outside the Episcopal Church does not impact your benefits from the Clergy Pension Plan.
Exceptions to Working While Pensioned Policy
The Church Pension Fund grants exceptions that allow retired clergy to continue to receive a pension while:
- Earning more than the stated compensation limit ($37,700 as of January 1, 2017, $38,250 as of January, 2018) or
- Serving in the same church or parish from which you have retired
If the exception is granted to you, your employer will not be required to pay a pension assessment and you will not accrue credited service. Please note that your participation in the Medicare Supplement plan and receipt of the Medicare Supplement subsidy may be impacted. You may be required to enroll in one of the Medicare Secondary Payer Small Employer Exception Plans (SEE) or active healthcare plans offered by The Medical Trust.
Exceptions will be granted for up to one year and can be renewed one time, for a total exception period of two years. In order to extend the exception, a new application must be submitted prior to the expiration date of the initial exception period.
The diocese where you will work must apply for the exception. No exception is required if you are age 72 or over.
To qualify for the exception, you:
- Must be at least 65 years of age
- Have at least 25 years of credited service
- Must be in good standing with the Episcopal Church
How to apply for a Working While Pensioned exception
To apply for the exception, the Ecclesiastical Authority in the diocese where you will work must submit the following prior to starting work.
- An application for Exception to the Rules for Working While Pensioned, completed by you and signed by the Ecclesiastical Authority and geographical bishop, if applicable
- A letter of certification representing that:
- There is extraordinary pastoral or institutional need for you to serve in the requested position, or to serve in the same location you retired from
- If you will be working in the same location you retired from, you will serve in a completely different position
- The diocese and parish have made all reasonable efforts to fill the position with a non-retired cleric, but you have been determined to be the most qualified candidate
- The diocese and parish will continue to make a reasonable effort to find a non-retired cleric to fill the position when your exception expires in one year
- The Ecclesiastical Authority has the authority to remove you from the position at any time, and the congregation understands this authority
- The Ecclesiastical Authority recommends that the Church Pension Fund grant the requested exception
Send the letter and application to:
The Church Pension Fund
c/o Michelle Langone, Benefits Policy
19 East 34th Street
New York, NY 10016
What happens if I return to active ministry and either exceed the compensation limits or do not meet the other Working While Pensioned criteria?
- Pension benefits will be suspended while you are working.
- Your employer will be responsible for paying pension assessments based on your Total Assessable Compensation.
- You will accrue additional Credited Service under the Clergy Pension Plan, and your pension benefit may be favorably impacted.
- Your participation in the Medicare Supplement plan and receipt of the Medicare Supplement subsidy may be impacted. You may be required to enroll in one of the Medicare Secondary Payer Small Employer Exception Plans (SEE) or active healthcare plans offered by The Medical Trust. Contact Client Services for more information.
- When your active ministry ceases, a new pension benefit will be calculated.
- The new benefit will be the combination of your original pension benefit1, plus any additional pension benefits earned during your return to active ministry.
- You may elect a separate optional form of benefit for the newly earned pension benefits.
1 The benefit will be made based on the payment option you selected when you originally retired and will reflect any discretionary cost-of-living increases that may have been granted on the original pension benefit.