Never worry about outliving your money.
An employer-sponsored defined benefit plan, the Pension Plan guarantees a monthly retirement benefit for your lifetime (and your surviving spouse’s lifetime).
Watch your pension grow over time.
The Pension Plan is well funded, with additional funds held in reserve to protect against economic downturns. In fact, when reserves exist above what is required for current and future benefits (and for any potential market decline), Pension Fund's board of directors may declare additional “Special Apportionment” earnings — meaning more money for you in retirement.
“Traditional income-for-life pensions are increasingly rare, and the stability and returns that come from participation in the Pension Plan is a benefit most employees recognize as unique and very beneficial.”
- Woodhaven Learning Center
Financial protection during disability or death.
Should a worst-case scenario become reality, the Pension Plan includes built-in death and disability benefits for participants and their families.
Employer may make contributions
Contributions are normally made pre-tax
Income-for-life in retirement (you’ll never outlive your money)
Death and disability benefits for participants and their families
Increases with dues payments over time and Special Apportionments
Complements other retirement savings plans (such as Social Security, 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts)
Is the Pension Plan right for me?
What are the benefits of the Pension Plan?
The Pension Plan is a defined benefit program, which means retirement compensation is paid annually until death, rather than a distribution of all dollars accumulated.
The amount of the annual pension is based on your total compensation base (the sum of all annual salaries on which dues have been paid). This annual retirement benefit would be divided into monthly payments that a member would receive for the rest of his or her life.
Many Pension Fund members report that they actually receive more income in retirement than when they were working (with the help of Special Apportionment pension increases [link to Special Apportionment explanation]).
In addition to a retirement benefit, your Pension Plan dues allow you additional protection with death and disability benefits included in the plan design.
What are potential drawbacks of the Pension Plan?
To participate in the Pension Plan, employers or members must contribute an amount equal to 14% of compensation. These contributions are also called pension dues. Pension Fund uses pension dues to formulate your retirement benefits, also known as pension credits.
Pension Fund recommends that an employer contribute the 14% pension dues on top of salary, but some employers may choose to include these dues as part of a compensation package (or have a minister self-pay dues). This can feel like a significant financial sacrifice during prime earning years — even when the result is income-for-life in retirement.
Unlike defined contribution plans (like IRAs), Pension Plan credits are not based on a dollar-in and dollar-out model. You can’t withdraw your funds or transfer your dollars to another plan.
Am I eligible to participate in the Pension Plan?
If you’re employed by an organization affiliated with the Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement, you are eligible to participate in the Pension Plan. These organizations include, but are not limited to, congregations, wider ministries, seminaries, and universities and colleges associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, or Churches of Christ in the United States. A minister who is self-employed can also participate in the Pension Plan as long as ministerial services are being performed for compensation.
How do I get started?
In a participation agreement between your employer and Pension Fund, your employer will define eligibility requirements for organizational participation and employee participation in the Pension Plan. You or a representative for your employer can contact Pension Fund directly to set up a participation agreement at 866.495.7322 (PFCC) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Having a package of benefits is important to young and old. In the early years, the benefit of a disability plan was important to protect my young family. In later years, it was the promise that if I became disabled before retirement age there would be financial help for me and my wife."
Rev. Paul Porter, First Christian Church (Highland, IN)
Pension Plan FAQs
How is my pension payment calculated?
Your monthly pension payment is equal to 1/12 of the total amount of pension credits in your account at the time of your retirement PLUS any Special Apportionments earned thereafter. Pension credits are determined by:
- Your salary
- Dues paid by you and/or your employer
- How long you’ve been a member
- The amount of Special Apportionments awarded over time
What is a Special Apportionment?
A unique feature of the Pension Plan is Special Apportionments. Special Apportionments are additional pension credits over and above those allotted for in the retirement formula required for current and future benefits. They’re awarded as a percentage of the accumulated pension credits in a Pension Plan member’s account.
The Pension Fund Board of Directors reviews the reserves required for current and future benefits, as well as reserves needed for potential market declines. When reserves exist above what are required by policy, the Board of Directors may declare a Special Apportionment for all Pension Plan participants.**
**Special Apportionments are similar to a cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase, but are linked more directly to the Pension Plan’s funding level.
What is covered under death and disability benefits?
In addition to a retirement benefit, your Pension Plan dues provide additional protection of death and disability benefits as part of the plan design.*
The salary continuation benefit is equal to three times the annual compensation on which dues are paid (maximum benefit $50,000) for up to age 60, and two times the annual compensation (maximum benefit $30,000) for ages 60 and over.
The surviving spouse pension is 50% of the member’s pension credits (if not retired) or 50% of the member’s retirement pension. Members who retire at age 65 or older may alternately elect, at time of retirement, a 50%, 75% or 100% surviving spouse pension.
Each surviving child (full orphan pension, if applicable) is eligible to receive $500 per month up to age 21. If both mother and father die, all unpaid cash death benefits are paid to the estate. The amount of the spouse pension is added to the minor child pensions as a full orphan pension.
The surviving child educational benefit is supplemental to the surviving child benefit. Each surviving child is eligible to receive $5,000 per year for up to 4 years of education beyond high school.
The dependent parent benefit was established for members who are unmarried at the time of death and have no children under the age of 21, but have a parent who is dependent upon them for his/her livelihood. The amount of the dependent parent pension is the same as the amount that would have been allocated to a surviving spouse.
The pensioner death benefit of up to a maximum benefit of $10,000 will be paid to the surviving spouse or, if none, to the designated beneficiary.
The disability benefit is equal to 60% of salary on which dues are paid, up to a maximum of $2,500 a month. Dues must have been paid for a year immediately prior to becoming disabled on a monthly salary of $125 or more. If the disability continues into the second year after review, the benefit is 40% of the salary base with a maximum benefit of $1,666.67 per month. All dues are waived during disability, and pension credits continue to accrue as if full dues were paid on the annual compensation base used to determine the disability benefit.
*Available for active members only.