Mid councils play a key role in assisting churches and other employers in understanding their responsibilities for paying dues and other costs of coverage, and in reporting effective salaries to the Board of Pensions.
A member’s effective salary determines the following:
- dues for medical PPO (preferred provider organization) coverage in Pastor’s Participation
- pension dues
- death and disability dues
- eligibility for supplemental disability coverage
- medical deductible and copayment limits in the PPO
- pension credit accrual
The Total Effective Salary Calculator, available on pensions.org, can be used to determine an employee’s effective salary. The Effective Salary Worksheet in the Understanding Effective Salary booklet is also useful.
Employers report changes in effective salary online through Benefits Connect.
The Board of Pensions annually tabulates the median and average effective salary information reported to it for teaching elder members who are serving U.S. congregations. The median salary is generally considered more representative than the average salary because it is less affected by very high or very low salaries. The annual Salary Study is available on pensions.org.
The Board of Pensions bills employers for dues and for other costs of coverage their employees receive through the Benefits Plan. The Board bills individuals for medical continuation and Medicare Supplement Plan coverage directly. Retiree coverage costs are deducted from pension payments, if sufficient funds are available; costs over funds available are billed directly to the retiree.
Employers are responsible for the timely payment of dues and the costs of any other coverage for employees. If employers require employees to pay some or all of the cost of coverage, where applicable, employers are responsible for communicating and collecting any employee contributions, generally through payroll deductions. Regardless of any employee contributions, employers are responsibility for remitting the full amount of the monthly invoice to the Board.
If employers (or individuals in the case of medical continuation and Medicare Supplement) do not submit payment to the Board in a timely manner, it may result in an interruption of benefits until full payment or a payment plan agreement is made.
An interest charge is applied each month for invoices not paid in full by the payment deadline. If an employer is delinquent, the Board of Pensions
- sends several communications to the organization;
- copies the clerk of session, the executive presbyter, and other relevant presbytery representatives, if the employing organization is a church;
- informs all affected members at the employing organization that such delinquency puts their benefits at risk.
The Board will not suspend or terminate coverage without prior notification by certified mail to all affected parties.
To avoid Benefits Plan coverage interruptions, organizations with delinquent dues should contact the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (PRESPLAN) as soon as possible to speak with a collections specialist.
When a church has a vacant installed position for which it plans to call a replacement, it is required to pay dues of 12 percent of the pension participation basis of the most recent teaching elder for the first 12 months of the vacancy. The Board may waive vacancy dues if it determines that the situation warrants it.
The presbytery of jurisdiction may request a waiver in writing on the church’s behalf, stating the specific circumstances supporting the request. Examples of such circumstances are a significant loss of members or income, trauma within the life of the church, or damage from a natural disaster.
A waiver of vacancy dues is not a waiver of plan dues once the position is filled.