The Defined Benefit Pension Plan pays benefits when you retire early, at age 65, or after age 65, as follows:
- Normal Retirement (at age 65): Your benefit equals the total pension credits accrued on your retirement date.
- Early Retirement (age 55 to 64): If you retire any time after age 55 but before age 65, your monthly benefit is lower because it is likely that you will receive benefits for a longer period of time.
- Post-normal Retirement (after age 65): If you retire after age 65, your pension credits continue to accrue, increasing each year until age 70, resulting in an increased benefit.
You should apply to begin receiving your pension benefit at least 45 days before you plan to retire.
The pension plan also pays benefits in other circumstances:
Termination with vested benefits. If you leave employment after becoming vested, you may receive a benefit from the plan as early as age 55 (monthly payments before age 65 are reduced). If your accumulated pension credits have a value of $5,000 or less, or if your pension benefit payments are less than $50 monthly, the plan pays benefits in a one-time, single-sum equivalent to all future benefit payments.
Survivor’s pension. If you die after becoming vested but before you retire, the plan pays a benefit, based on accrued pension credits and your marital status at the time of death:
- Your spouse will receive 75 percent of the adjusted benefit that would have been paid if you had retired on the date of your death, or 50 percent of the total pension credits accrued on the date of your death — whichever is greater.
- If you are single, your dependent children, parents, or siblings may be eligible for 50 percent of total pension credits accrued on the date of your death.
Return to work after retirement. Your pension may be suspended if you return to eligible Church service because you are again considered an active member of the plan. When you later retire, pension payments resume and will reflect additional participation in the Pension Plan. Certain post-retirement service is permitted under the plan. Returning to active service may be more advantageous than serving under post-retirement services rules. For information about the rules for post-retirement service, call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).
The Board conducts periodic internal audits of benefit calculations. If you do not notify the Board of changes in your personal situation, such as a death, divorce, or dissolution of a marriage, your benefits may be suspended, or you may be required to repay benefits.
Applying for benefits
Call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) to request a retirement packet, which includes the Retirement Pension Application for Members. To apply for pension benefits, you must return a completed, signed application no later than 45 days before your pension benefit begins.
If your application for pension benefits is denied or pension benefits are reduced, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Pensions. The appeals process is described in Guide to Your Pension Benefits.