What employers need to know about new disability benefits

August 11, 2020

Beginning in 2021, employers may provide important financial protection to ministers and employees with two new disability plans. Here’s what employers need to know about these plans when selecting benefits for 2021.

When employers log on to Benefits Connect to complete their 2021 Employer Agreement, two new financial protection programs — the Temporary Disability Plan and the Long-Term Disability Plan — will be available. Here is some important information about these new options.

What is the Temporary Disability Plan and how does it work?

The Temporary Disability Plan provides employees with the financial protection of a partial income if they are unable to work because of illness or injury. Temporary disability benefits are generally available for up to 90 days from the date of the disability (after a 14-day waiting period).

The Temporary Disability Plan is automatically included in Pastor’s Participation and Minister’s Choice, and employers pay the full cost. Otherwise, the Temporary Disability Plan may be offered or provided to employees regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours, and either the employer or the employee pays the full cost of coverage.

How do employers offer the Temporary Disability Plan?

The Temporary Disability Plan will automatically be selected for those enrolled in Pastor’s Participation or Minister’s Choice in the 2021 Employer Agreement on Benefits Connect.

The Temporary Disability Plan will appear as an option in the Employer Agreement for employees who are otherwise regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours weekly.

Do Temporary Disability Plan benefits coordinate with workers’ compensation, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state-mandated benefits?

Any benefits an employee receives from the Temporary Disability Plan will be reduced by benefits received from another source, such as workers’ compensation benefits, sick pay, or state-mandated disability payments. The disability toolkit offers additional information and resources.

How is the new Long-Term Disability Plan different from disability benefits in the Death and Disability Plan?

While both plans include coverage for disabilities lasting longer than 90 days, here are some key differences:

  • The Long-Term Disability Plan benefit is up to 60 percent of the member’s effective salary, up to $285,000 per year (the 2020 maximum), while the Death and Disability Plan benefit is up to 60 percent of pay up to $110,000 or the applicable median (whichever is higher).
  • The Long-Term Disability Plan provides benefits up to the Social Security normal retirement age (currently age 67 for those born in 1960 and later) not age 65, as under the Death and Disability Plan.
  • Supplemental disability benefits are not available to participants in the Long-Term Disability Plan because the plan covers salary up to $285,000. These benefits may be available to members enrolled in the Death and Disability Plan to protect incomes greater than $110,000.
  • Under the Long-Term Disability Plan, continued benefits coverage through the Board is not available during disability. If an employee has medical coverage through the Board, they may be able to continue it for a limited time at their expense through Medical Continuation.

Who can be enrolled in the Long-Term Disability Plan?

Employers may offer the Long-Term Disability Plan to employees who normally work at least 20 hours weekly and who are not enrolled in the Death and Disability Plan.

Where can I get more information?

The Board of Pensions is here to help. If you have questions or need assistance, call us at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.