Pictured, Valerie Brooks-Madden, chair of the Board of Pensions, speaks to the body at Annual Conference. Photo by Matt Brodie
By Allison Trussell
FLORENCE—Those covered by conference health and pension plans will see only slight changes next year. That’s according to Valerie Brooks-Madden, chair of the Board of Pensions, and Rev. Chris Lollis, conference benefits officer, who presented the report of Pension and Health Benefits on June 6.
Brooks-Madden began her report saying they helped about 35 people enter retirement this year. The board continues to seek new ways to serve those who serve.
In an effort to continue streamlining processes and being good stewards, the office will shift to paperless billing in 2024. Statements will be emailed to the pastor and treasurer, although additional emails may be added upon request.
The board recommends a past service rate of $881 per service year as the rate for annuity payments to retired ministers. This is a 2 percent increase from 2023.
Brooks-Madden encouraged churches to enroll in ACH bank draft. By enrolling, churches receive a $15 per month discount, which is an increase from $10 per month. ACH bank draft is not a requirement at this time, she said, though it may become so in the future. Lollis said about half the churches were currently enrolled to use it.
Newly incapacitated ministers receiving CPP Incapacity Benefits, surviving spouses of ministers, participants in the Voluntary Transition Program or newly retired pastors may receive a one-time moving expense grant not to exceed $2,000. This is an increase from $1,800.
Lollis said there will be slight changes to the medical plans in 2024, in part because of anticipated IRS changes. He reminded pastors and delegates that the annual election period is a time to evaluate your current medical plan and to see if another plan would fit better.
The Health Benefit Fee for churches/charges with an eligible clergy/lay participant will increase $135 per month or $1,620 per year from 2023. However, the board will offer a Health Fee Subsidy in 2024 in the amount of $135 per month to offset the cost.
Both Brooks-Madden and Lollis encouraged the conference to read the full reports in their registration packets. The report was approved with no discussion.