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Special Circumstances

These special circumstances require knowledge and actions beyond routine administration duties:

  • disability
  • member couples
  • military duty


When an eligible member can no longer perform his or her duties because of a physical or mental illness that may last more than 90 days, disability benefits may be available. Benefits, if approved, are payable on the latter of the 91st day of the disability or the day after salary termination.

If the member is approved for disability benefits, the employing organization must verify the following information before payments begin:

  • last day worked
  • number of hours worked before disability
  • date of salary (including paid time off and severance) and benefits termination

No benefits are payable if a member becomes disabled during the first 12 months of enrollment in the Death and Disability Plan because of a medical condition that existed in the 12 months before enrollment.

The employing organization is responsible for the member’s dues during the 90-day waiting period if the disability is approved. If a pastoral relationship is terminated because of disability, vacancy dues will be assessed for 12 months or until the position is filled, whichever is sooner.

Member Couples

Any two members married to each other and enrolled in the Medical Plan PPO option are considered a member couple. The couple can be two ministers of the Word and Sacrament, a minister and an other employee, or two other employees. They can work for the same employer or different employers, and can be enrolled in Pastor’s Participation, menu options, or a combination of both. If both are enrolled in menu options, one member must be enrolled for Member + Spouse coverage; if both are enrolled in Member-only coverage, they are not considered a member couple.

See the Benefits Overview: Member Couples for more information.

Military Duty

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects employees who leave work for military service and then return to employment within five years.

USERRA does the following:

  • prohibits discrimination on the basis of uniformed service or application for uniformed service in hiring, promotion, or any other benefit of employment
  • provides the right of job reinstatement for honorably discharged military returning to civilian employment within five years; the employee must be returned to the same position or to a position of like seniority, pay, and status
  • requires that the employee and his dependents be permitted to resume participation in those employment-related benefits in which they participated when the military service began
  • requires that, upon the employee’s re-employment, the employee receive pension credit or retirement savings contributions for the period of military leave

If a member returns to church employment, the employing organization immediately preceding the start of military leave must pay pension dues for the leave period if the member was enrolled for pension coverage when leave began.

A member who returns to a PC(USA)-related employer is entitled to USERRA benefits, even if he returns to a different church or other employing organization within the Church.