Church Pension Group | Retirement Plan

Retirement Plan At-a-Glance

CPF is pleased to offer a defined benefit plan for eligible lay employees of The Episcopal Church. The main features of the plan are described below. The plan provides a benefit based on a predefined formula that takes into account your years of service with a participating employer and compensation history. Benefits are funded by employer contributions called Assessments.


You must be scheduled to work a minimum of 1,000 hours per year to be eligible to participate in the plan. There is no minimum age or waiting period.


Vesting and Credited Service will be carried with you to any other participating employer.

How Benefits Are Calculated

Your retirement benefits are calculated using a formula that takes into account various factors, including:

Credited Service

What Is It?

The period of years and months for which full Assessments have been paid while you are working for a participating employer.

Why Is It Important?

Credited Service is used to calculate your retirement benefit.

Highest Average Compensation

What Is It?

If you earn Credited Service on or after January 1, 2018, Highest Average Compensation is generally the average of your seven highest-paid, non-overlapping 12-month periods during which you earned Credited Service over your entire career.

Why Is It Important?

Highest Average Compensation is used to calculate your retirement benefit.


What Is It?

The basis for the amount that your participating employer pays in Assessments. Specifically, your participating employer must pay 9% of your Earnings, which is the sum of the following annualized amounts:

  • Base salary (excluding housing) and scheduled taxable cash payments; plus
  • Cash housing allowance and/or utilities; plus
  • Employer contributions to a qualified and/or non-qualified plan; plus
  • One-time payments (applies to month when paid); plus
  • The value of employer-provided housing (in accordance with the plan’s formula).

See A Closer Look at Your Retirement Benefit for more details.

Why Is It Important?

Both Highest Average Compensation and Credited Service are dependent on your Earnings. For each month that your participating employer pays the full Assessment due, you will earn one month of Credited Service, and your Earnings for that month may be counted toward your Highest Average Compensation.

Please note:

  • Your Earnings are taken into consideration when determining your Highest Average Compensation only if and when Assessments (and, if applicable, interest) are paid in full.
  • CPF reserves the right to request documentation, such as a Form W-2, at any time to support the amount of an individual’s Earnings that is reported to us.


Vesting means you are entitled to receive a retirement benefit from the plan upon your retirement. You become vested upon the first of the following to occur:

In addition, if you were, became, or become an Active member in the plan on or after January 1, 2013, your previous employment with any Episcopal employer (even one that does not participate in the plan) will count toward vesting service under the plan if you worked at least 1,000 hours per year for that previous employer and also provide verification of that prior employment to CPF.

If you are ordained: If your enrollment in the plan ends before you are vested and you later are ordained in The Episcopal Church, any future vesting service under the Clergy Pension Plan or the International Clergy Pension Plan will count toward the vesting requirement under this plan, subject to the following: (1) your benefit has not previously been forfeited, and (2) you provide written notice to CPF.

Financial Protection While Working

Subject to eligibility requirements, the plan may provide both survivor and disability benefit coverage from the time Assessment payments begin all the way through retirement, as long as Assessments are paid in full and on time. This includes:

  • Disability payments for Active members who incur a serious and long-term disability before age 65. (See Benefits If You Are Disabled Prior to Retirement for more information.)
  • A preretirement survivor benefit for your eligible surviving spouse if you die before you retire. (To be eligible, you and your spouse must have been married for at least 12 months, and your death must occur on or after age 55. Other eligibility requirements apply. See Preretirement Survivor Benefit for more information.)
  • If you die after retirement, the plan provides an automatic 50% survivor’s benefit to your surviving spouse, unless it was waived by your spouse at the time you retired. (If you are not married at the time of retirement, the Plan provides several payment options that will provide a survivor’s benefit to a named beneficiary after your death. If you are married, with spousal consent in certain cases, you may also elect one of these other options.)
  • lump sum death benefit is available in the event you die while an Active member. The benefit is equal to two times your Earnings, up to a maximum of $50,000.

Since there are no individual accounts, the plan does not provide loans. A lump sum payout at retirement is available on a limited basis.

When You Can Begin Receiving Benefits

You can begin receiving your vested retirement benefit at the following point in time:

Early Retirement At or after age 55
Normal Retirement At or after age 65*

* If you are vested, have not yet retired under the plan, and are no longer working for a participating employer, the Internal Revenue Service requires that you must begin receiving your retirement benefit after you reach your IRS required beginning date. See A Guide to the Lay Defined Benefit Plan for more information.