Living needs benefit

​If you are terminally ill and enrolled in the Death and Disability Plan, the living needs benefit offers you the option to receive a portion of your death benefits before you die to help pay expenses during the final stage of your illness.


You can apply to receive part of your lump-sum death benefit and/or salary continuation benefit prior to death if you are

  • an active or disabled member, a retired member eligible for death benefits, or covered under transitional participation and paying Death and Disability Plan dues;
  • terminally ill; and
  • expected to live no more than 24 months. 

The living needs benefit is not available if

  • your illness or physical condition stems from an intentional self-inflicted injury; or
  • your death and disability coverage has been in effect less than two years.

Amount of benefit

If you are an active and disabled member or are enrolled in transitional participation coverage, where applicable, you can request

  • the actuarial present value of up to 100 percent of your salary continuation benefit; and/or
  • 75 percent of your lump-sum death benefit (the lesser of the death benefit basis* or $100,000 multiplied by a percentage based on your age at the time of your death).

If you are an eligible retired member, you can request up to the present value of the $10,000** minimum salary continuation benefit.

*The death benefit basis is the greater of the pension participation basis (annual effective salary or 25 percent of the congregational ministers’ median, whichever is more, up to the IRS maximum of $285,000 effective January 1, 2020, increased from $280,000 in 2019) or the applicable median (prorated for part-time employment).

**Reflects plan provisions effective January 1, 2020. The benefit was $9,000 in 2019.

Applying for and receiving benefits

To apply, you must first request the living needs benefit packet by sending a letter to the attention of the Board’s Disability team at this address:

The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
2000 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-3298

The packet includes necessary forms and information, including the estimated amounts for which you are eligible.

A physician must certify your condition. The Board may require a second medical opinion (at its expense).

The living needs benefit is paid in a lump sum and only to you; it cannot be paid to another person or entity. The amount paid will be deducted from the death benefits payable to your designated beneficiary(ies) or eligible dependents on file with the Board, upon your death.