Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance is a one-time grant available to individuals for emergency or unexpected needs, such as a family emergency, custodial care at home, or any number of special situations beyond Benefits Plan or other coverage. The amounts awarded vary with the need, and range from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 each.

About Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance is initiated by a mid council, employer, or multiple bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which typically share with the Assistance Program in the cost of the grant. In extraordinary circumstances, the Board of Pensions may consider requests from congregations and mid councils for Emergency Assistance that falls outside these parameters.

The Board considers applicants’ financial and personal needs and resources before distributing assistance.


The amounts awarded vary with the need. Grants range from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 each. An individual may be awarded emergency assistance of no more than $15,000 in a 12-month period.


To qualify, you must have an emergency or unexpected financial need and

  • be employed by a PC(USA) congregation, mid council, agency, or affiliated organization and be enrolled in the Medical Plan or the Defined Benefit Pension Plan; or
  • receive a retirement or survivor's pension from the Benefits Plan of the PC(USA).

Excluded from consideration

The Board of Pensions does not approve requests that seek to

  • subsidize an employer’s responsibility (e.g., ensure an employee receives compensation if the employer cannot pay it);
  • substitute for or augment a presbytery's or employer's support of a terminated employee (i.e., pay a severance package);
  • substitute for unemployment compensation or other programs accessible to the applicant;
  • subsidize an individual’s choice to retire before the age of 65 or to opt out of Social Security;
  • provide loans to the applicant;
  • provide moving expenses, except in certain extreme cases, such as those occasioned by serious, long-term illness, disability, or divorce;
  • pay for routine home maintenance;
  • pay legal fees, fines, penalties, or taxes (including SECA or FICA allowances); or
  • pay Benefits Plan dues.

How to apply

Individual grants

If you think you may qualify for Emergency Assistance, speak with your employer or, if you are a minister, contact your mid council. Your employer or mid council must complete and sign the Emergency Assistance Application and email it to memberservices@pensions.org, along with documentation of the specific need and resources available for the total amount requested.

Employers and mid councils are typically expected to share equally in the provision of the grant. Employers and mid councils who are unable to do so must provide a statement indicating why emergency or benevolence funds are not available to assist with the grant. The Board of Pensions will consult with the employer or mid council to confirm the need for assistance and ensure that resources for Emergency Assistance have been exhausted and no community resources are available.

Group grants/natural disasters

In the event you are affected by a natural disaster, contact your employer or mid council. They will need to provide their Board of Pensions relationship manager or Church Consultant with the number of employees affected. The Board will make Emergency Assistance decisions after receiving information on the magnitude of the need. Group grants for natural disasters are available only to PC(USA) employers, who manage their distribution.

Need help?

​Call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).