Considering retirement? One of the first things to consider is eligibility and which Book of Discipline paragraph applies to you. The Book of Discipline outlines four opportunities under which a clergy person may retire. Each paragraph has its own qualifications and implications.
Getting Ready for Retirement
Once you've decided you're ready to retire, here are some things you need to know to get you ready.
- Submit your request in writing - Requests for retirement must be submitted in writing to the Bishop, cabinet, and BOM at least 120 days prior to the effective date. Generally, retirements are effective July 1 in a conference year. However, ad interim retirements may be approved by the Bishop, cabinet, and BOM executive committee.
- Wespath is notified - Upon receipt of this request, the Conference Benefits Office will notify Wespath of your intent to retire. As a result, Wespath will send you a packet outlining steps to be taken by you to set up your retirement benefits.
- Understand your pension elections - Prior to receiving your pension benefits, you will need to make elections around COLA increases, MPP distributions, survivor benefits, etc. Elections must be finalized by June 30 prior to retirement. There are a few resources to assist with these decisions:
- The retirement packet from Wespath will outline your monthly benefits as well as elections you will need to make prior to retirement.
- Wespath Benefit Educators continue to host virtual one-on-one consultations to help you navigate these elections.
- Attending the conference's Retirement Seminar in March will also equip you with a wealth of information.
- Understand your Retiree Medical options - Your health insurance options will look different depending on your age at retirement. More information can be found on the Retired Members Health Plan page.
- Pre-65 Retirees- clergy and/or dependents who are not yet Medicare eligible (age 65) at the time of retirement may remain on the conference's active health plan, HealthFlex, until such time as the clergy and/or dependent becomes Medicare eligible.
- Medicare-eligible Retirees - clergy and/or dependents who are Medicare-eligible at the time of retirement will transition to Via Benefits, a Medicare Supplement Exchange sponsored by Wespath. The conference Board of Pensions provides each clergy with an annual stipend via a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) with which to purchase plans from the exchange. Only plans purchased through Via Benefits are eligible for reimbursement from the HRA. Annual HRA amounts are based on a clergy's years of service. Spouses, if on the active health plan at the time of the clergy's retirement, are eligible for the same HRA funding as the clergy. For retirements effective July 1, clergy and eligible dependents may begin taking the following steps beginning April 1:
- Request the Benefits Office complete Section B of the CMS Request for Employment Information Form. Clergy must complete Section A before sending this form to the Benefits Office.
- Enroll in Medicare Parts A & B.
- Create a Via Benefits Account.
- Set-up an appointment with Via Benefits by calling 1-866-249-7785 to enroll in Medicare Supplement plans and set-up reimbursements.
- Coverage in HealthFlex will end June 30.
- Prepare for Annual Conference - We are excited to recognize retiring clergy during Annual Conference. Each retiring clergy is invited to provide a written retirement bio for the journal, record a video message with our Communications Team, and attend the Annual Conference Retirement Service.
- Moving Assistance - For retiring clergy moving out of their church's parsonage, the Conference Board of Pensions will reimburse you up to $2,000 in moving-related costs.