More members will have access to Assistance Program in 2021

September 08, 2020

Effective January 1, 2021, eligibility for several assistance programs will be expanded to serve more Benefits Plan members, including ministers enrolled in the new Minister’s Choice benefits package.

Access to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions will be expanding effective January 1, 2021 — which means more members of the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) may be eligible to receive important financial support. Through the Assistance Program, the Board of Pensions provides need-based grants to help active and retired members and their families. The program is one of the ways in which the Board promotes the health and wholeness of its members.

All active members

For 2021, eligibility for the following grants will be expanded to include any member enrolled in the Medical Plan or the Defined Benefit Pension Plan — which includes ministers enrolled in Pastor’s Participation and Minister’s Choice:

  • Adoption Assistance of $3,000 per child is provided at the completion of an adoption to eligible members to help with a portion of their adoption-related expenses, such as agency and attorney fees.
  • Emergency Assistance is a one-time grant that addresses an emergency or unexpected need facing eligible members.
  • Transition-to-College Assistance helps eligible members with children entering college. They can receive up to $1,000 to pay for transitional expenses, such as a computer purchase.


Eligibility for Retiree Medical Grants also will be expanded effective January 1, 2021. Retirees may be eligible if they meet certain criteria and

  • are enrolled in the Medicare Supplement Plan; or
  • are receiving a retirement or survivor's pension from the Benefits Plan, have 20 or more years of service to the PC(USA) and a commensurate period of participation in the Pension Plan, and are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and in a Medicare Supplement plan or Medicare Advantage Plan.

These grants provide up to $2,500 once every three years to eligible retirees, spouses, or surviving spouses for dental services and/or hearing aids, which are not covered by Medicare or the Medicare Supplement Plan.

Eligibility for Housing Supplements and Income Supplements is unchanged in 2021.

Ministers in active service

Ministers enrolled in Pastor’s Participation and the new Minister’s Choice benefits package may be eligible to apply for Minister Educational Debt Assistance and Sabbath Sabbatical Support. Employers may select Minister’s Choice when completing their 2021 Employer Agreement through October 9, 2020.

Minister Educational Debt Assistance helps ministers repay outstanding educational debt through student loan debt coaching and grants of up to $25,000 over five years — making it easier for them to accept a wide range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry. Sabbath Sabbatical Support provides financial support up to $3,000 to ministers so they can take time away to engage in planned activities for personal and professional renewal.

For more information

Learn more about the financial assistance provided through the Assistance Program. If you represent a mid council or employer and know of a PC(USA) minister, employee, or survivor with a financial need, or if you are a plan member and unsure if you are eligible for assistance, call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) to discuss how we might help.