Defined Benefit Pension Plan

The Defined Benefit Pension Plan, a qualified church 401(a) defined benefit retirement plan, provides a monthly benefit as defined by the plan’s formula, for as long as you live. Your employer is responsible for enrollment and for paying the full dues amount (cost) for pension plan participation. You do not contribute to the cost, and you do not need to take any action. Pastors in installed positions participate as of the first day of the call. Otherwise, ministers and employees begin participating when they are enrolled.

Amount of your pension benefit

Your pension grows as you accumulate pension credits over time. It can also grow through experience apportionments, which are discretionary permanent increases in credits or benefits granted periodically by the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions.

When your pension benefit begins

The Board pays your accumulated pension benefit in monthly installments over your (or your survivors’) lifetime. The amount you receive each month depends on when your pension begins and how your benefit is paid.   

How benefits are paid and your options

You may choose to begin receiving pension benefits at normal retirement (at age 65) or before or after age 65. There are several joint and survivor payment options from which you may choose that pay a monthly benefit to eligible survivors if you die while receiving pension benefits. 

Survivor benefits

The benefits your survivors receive from the pension plan when you die are based on a variety of factors, including whether you have started receiving your pension and your marital status. 

Other factors affecting your pension benefit

There are other factors that may affect your pension benefit, including, but not limited to, taxable income if you are a minister, Social Security, military duty, and disability.