Living needs benefit

If you are terminally ill, the living needs benefit offers you the option to receive a portion of your death benefits before you die to help pay expenses during the final stage of your illness.

You can apply for the living needs benefit if you have been enrolled in the Death and Disability Plan for two years or more, and you are an active, disabled, or retired member or in transitional participation coverage. The living needs benefit is not available to terminated vested members. Your doctor must certify that you are expected to live no more than 24 months, and your terminal condition is not related to an intentional self-inflicted injury.

Amount of benefit

Active employees

When applying for the living needs benefit, you may request

  • the present value of up to 100 percent of your salary continuation benefit; and/or
  • 75 percent of your lump-sum death benefit (the lesser of your death benefit basis* or $110,000 multiplied by the applicable factor).

Retired employees

If you are retired, you can request up to the present value of the $10,000 minimum salary continuation benefit.

Present value

The present value, also called the actuarial present value, is the value of the future benefit payment expressed in present dollars. This is calculated using various assumptions, such as age, life expectancy, and interest, as recommended by the Benefits Plan actuary. These factors are applied to the face value of your coverage when you request the benefit. The plan's mortality and interest assumptions determine the cost of the plan.

*The death benefit basis is the greater of the pension participation basis (annual effective salary or 25 percent of the congregational ministers’ median, whichever is more, up to the IRS maximum) or the applicable median (prorated for part-time employment). The IRS maximum for 2023 is $330,000. The limit for 2024 will be published when released by the IRS. The maximum lump-sum death benefit basis is $110,000.

Applying for and receiving benefits

To apply, you must first request the living needs benefit kit by sending a signed letter to the attention of the Board of Pensions at this address:

The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
2000 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-3298

The kit includes necessary forms and information, including the estimated amounts for which you are eligible.

A physician must certify your condition. The Board of Pensions may require a second medical opinion (at its expense).

The living needs benefit is paid in a lump sum and only to you; it cannot be paid to another person or entity.

The Board of Pensions will deduct the amount of your living needs benefit from death benefits payable to your designated beneficiary(ies) or eligible dependents on file when you die and will reduce your retiree death benefit by the amount you receive from the living needs benefit.