Pension Benefits - Clergy & Lay

The Great Plains Conference participates in the Pension Plans of the United Methodist Church.

The current pension plan is the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP). CRSP consists of both a defined benefit (DB) plan, which provides a monthly benefit at retirement based upon years of credited service to the Church, and a defined contribution (DC) plan, which provides a retirement account balance established and funded by annual conferences.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, DB benefits are reduced from the current CRSP, and a portion of the DC contribution becomes a matching contribution based on participant contributions to the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP). The current CRSP benefit formula will remain effective for all service prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the Church will contribute 2 percent of compensation to the CRSP DC account of the participant. In addition, the Church will match participant contributions to the UMPIP — up to 1 percent of compensation — and deposit those matching funds into participant CRSP DC accounts. Therefore, if a participant contributes at least 1 percent of compensation to UMPIP, the contributions to his/her CRSP DC account will be 3 percent as under the current CRSP.

Plan Compensation refers to base salary plus housing. The contribution base shall be a clergy's Plan Compensation.

The Defined Benefit (CRSP-DB) component costs 9.2 percent of Plan Compensation. In 2015 the conference will pay a portion of this bill out of reserves and will bill the church an amount equal to 3 percent of Plan Compensation.

The Defined Contribution (CRSP-DC) component of the program will be billed to the local church or to a conference-responsible extension ministry at the rate of 3 percent of Plan Compensation. Clergy will receive a contribution equal to 2 percent of Plan Compensation into their CRSP-DC account. In addition, clergy who make contributions to UMPIP will receive a match of their contribution, up to a maximum of an additional 1 percent of Plan Compensation. That will mean a maximum contribution to the CRS-DC account of 3 percent.

Clergy under appointment full time, three-quarter time, or half-time to a local church, charge, conference or entity for which the GPUMC has pension responsibility (including Deacons, Local Pastors, and clergy appointed to Medical Leave who are approved for CPP benefits) are required to participate in the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP).

Clergy under appointment less-than-full-time shall receive CRSP-Defined Benefit (CRSP-DB) pension credit in one-quarter increments (half-time or three-quarter time) and their salary paying unit will be billed proportionately for the CRSP-DB portion, and billed for the CRSP-Defined Contribution portion at 3 percent of the defined Plan Compensation.

Clergy contribution to UMPIP is required to receive the full 3 percent of compensation into their CRSP-DC account. Participation by Clergy of Other Denominations is optional. Local churches are responsible for contributions required by the clergy’s denominational pension program when applicable.

For Clergy appointed quarter-time, the GPUMC will sponsor UMPIP and contribute 10 percent of Plan Compensation for the clergyperson and bill the local church or conference-responsible extension ministry for the same.

Clergy appointed less than one-quarter time are encouraged to contribute to UMPIP. No other pension benefits would apply.

Clergy under appointment to attend school, leave of absence, sabbatical leave, family leave, and clergy retired-and-rehired under ¶358.6 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church-2012 are not eligible to participate in the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP). However, clergy who are retired-and-rehired may make personal contributions to their UMPIP accounts.

Continuing current practice, CRSP Benefit contributions will be provided for clergy appointed to medical leave (and not yet receiving CPP disability benefits) for a maximum of 90 days while the application for CPP benefits is being processed. The 90-day period begins the day of the appointment to incapacity or medical leave, not the day the application is filed.

When a clergy person is denied or discontinued from receiving CPP disability benefits, the conference shall not be liable for any pension or health insurance contributions following date of denial. 

Pension Benefits for Conference Lay Employees
The Conference Board of Pensions is responsible for recommending the pension and death/disability benefit plans offered to lay persons employed by the Annual Conference. Lay employees shall be enrolled in the applicable pension plan administered by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church. The contribution rate shall be 6 percent of gross wages. In order to receive the 6 percent contribution, lay employees must contribute 3 percent to UMPIP.
For more information about the pension plans, visit the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits website.
Pension Benefits for Church Lay Employees
Churches may offer the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan as a retirement savings vehicle for their lay employees.  This can be done with or without employer contribution. The local church determines some eligibility criteria as well as contribution level. Refer to the UMPIP Benefits page for additional information.