30-Year Early Retirement

For clergy with at least 30 years of Credited Service (CS), early retirement:

  • Begins on or after age 55
  • Pays a monthly benefit calculated based on your Highest Average Compensation (HAC) and years of Credited Service (CS), with no adjustment for early retirement.
  • Includes an additional monthly “bridge benefit” payable only to the cleric and only until age 65

Remember: Credited Service is not the actual amount of years you have worked, but rather the number of years that assessments have been paid on your behalf.

Pension Benefit Calculation

The calculation for 30-year early retirement benefits is completed in two steps:

First, your normal retirement benefit is calculated:

HAC x 1.6% x CS
+
$10,000 x 1.15% x CS
------------------------------------------
= Annual Normal Retirement Benefit

Second, the "bridge benefit" is added to your annual normal retirement benefit (but only until age 65):

  • Before age 62, the monthly bridge benefit is $17.50 for each year of Credited Service
  • Between ages 62 and 65, the monthly bridge benefit is $8.75 for each year of Credited Service
  • At age 65, the monthly bridge benefit ends

Example

When the Rev. B. Gardner retires at age 56, she has 31 years of CS and HAC of $60,000.

Step 1 - Her annual normal retirement benefit is calculated:

$60,000 x 1.6% x 31 = $29,760
+
$10,000 x 1.15% x 31 = $3,565
------------------------------------------
= Annual Normal retirement Benefit = $33,325

Step 2 – Her "bridge benefit" is determined based on her age and added to the annual normal retirement benefit.

  • Annual bridge benefit
    • Until age 62 (6 years) = $17.50 x 31 years of CS x 12 months = $6,510
    • From ages 62 to 65 (3 years) = $8.75 x 31 years of CS x 12 months = $3,255
    • Age 65 and up = no bridge benefit
  • Annual 30-year early retirement benefit
    • $33,325 + $6,510 = $39,835 until age 62
    • $33,325 + $3,255 = $36,580 from ages 62 to 65
    • $33,325 from age 65 and up

Please note: The amount of the early retirement benefit will be adjusted based on the payment option Mother Gardner selects at retirement for a survivor’s benefit, if any, for her spouse. For the payment options available for surviving spouses, see Surviving Spouse Benefits. In addition, the bridge benefit is payable only Mother Gardner and not to her surviving spouse or beneficiary.

The information on this page relates only to clergy who are canonically resident in the United States. If you are canonically resident in a non-domestic diocese, please contact Client Services for details about your benefit.

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