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Churches and employing organizations must enroll all teaching elders serving in installed positions, regardless of number of hours employed, for full participation (medical, pension, and death and disability) in the Traditional Program of the Benefits Plan. The terms of call must contain the standard provision for participation in the Benefits Plan as found in the Book of Order (G-2.0804):

The call shall include participation in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including both pension and medical coverage, or any successor plan approved by the General Assembly.

The following other positions may be eligible to participate in the Benefits Plan:

  • ministers of other denominations;
  • lay employees or teaching elders in non-mandated positions;
  • teaching elders;
  • commissioned ruling elders in validated extensions of ministry;
  • seminary students.

A church or employing organization may enroll these employees in the Benefits Plan if they

  • are employed in eligible service at least 20 hours a week; and
  • have a total effective salary that meets the minimum compensation requirements to be eligible for plan participation.

Plan enrollment should apply to all employees within the same employment classification. See Administrative Rules 301 and 105 for information regarding levels of participation and prohibiting discrimination in enrollment practices for level of participation.

To enroll an employee, a completed Benefits Plan Membership Application should be faxed or mailed to the Board of Pensions within 60 days of the requested effective date of coverage.

Cost Responsibility

The employer pays the entire dues for members enrolled in the Traditional Program (medical, pension, and death and disability). Employers may require members to contribute to the cost of dues for family coverage. Employers offering the Affiliated Benefits Program may require participants to pay for a portion of their medical coverage.

Part Time versus Full Time

Employees who work 20 hours to 34 hours are considered part time for purposes of the Benefits Plan. Those who work 35 hours or more hours are considered full time. Full-time and part-time positions are classified as

  • teaching elder;
  • lay;
  • exempt; or
  • non-exempt.

For more information on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the criteria for exempt classification, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at

Enrolling Seminary Students

Seminary students who meet a school’s full-time enrollment criteria, and who are inquirers or candidates under the care of a presbytery are eligible to participate in the Benefits Plan’s medical coverage. A presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry or another committee responsible for seminary students should inform students of their eligibility to participate in the medical portion of the Benefits Plan. To enroll in the medical provisions of the Benefits Plan, each student must

  • complete and return the Seminary Student Benefits Plan Membership Application to the Board of Pensions within the annual enrollment period of August 1 to September 30*;
  • provide written confirmation of inquirer or candidate status from an authorized representative of the presbytery;
  • provide seminary confirmation of full-time student status; and
  • send payment for the first month’s coverage to the Board of Pensions.

If a student was not classified as an inquirer or candidate during the annual enrollment, the student can enroll within 60 days of receiving the change in status. A student may also enroll in the Benefits Plan’s medical coverage if his or her covered partner loses coverage. The student can enroll within 60 days of losing the covered partner’s coverage.

*If a student first enrolls at the seminary during the spring semester, he or she has 60 days from the date the semester begins to enroll for medical coverage through the Board of Pensions.