Transitional participation coverage

If you are a minister in Pastor’s Participation or Minister’s Choice or a graduated seminary student, you may be eligible for transitional participation coverage. Transitional participation coverage allows you to continue participating in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for a limited time on a self-pay basis after a change in employment or graduation from seminary.

Eligibility

You may enroll in transitional participation coverage for up to 24 months when your Benefits Plan membership ends, if you are a recently graduated seminary student; or enrolled in Pastor’s Participation or Minister’s Choice and are

  • a Minister of the Word and Sacrament actively seeking a new church service;
  • enrolled for full-time church-related studies; or
  • a minister subject to a disciplinary process that leads to a temporary leave or unemployment.

You must enroll in transitional participation coverage within 60 days of your benefits termination date. You may not continue Retirement Savings Plan contributions and/or supplemental disability coverage through transitional participation.

Costs

You choose whether to pay for transitional participation coverage based on the congregational ministers' median salary or your most recent effective salary (subject to minimums and maximums for medical coverage). Note that severance payments are included in effective salary.

Important! You should carefully consider which amount to be billed on. If you pay based on the median, the cost of medical coverage (if applicable) and/or pension and death and disability coverage could be lower. However, pension credit accruals and disability benefits would be based on the median as well not on your actual effective salary. This could result in accruing fewer pension credits during this time and/or a lower disability benefit, if applicable.

Seminary graduates are billed for transitional participation based on the minimum annual dues for medical coverage.

See dues schedule for current congregational ministers’ median salary.

Pastor’s Participation

If you are enrolled in Pastor’s Participation at the time your Benefits Plan membership ends, you may enroll in transitional participation coverage on a self-pay basis for the following benefits:

  • PPO family medical;
  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan;
  • Temporary Disability Plan; and
  • Death and Disability Plan

Additional benefits not included in your benefits package may be eligible for continued enrollment if they were in effect on the date your employer-paid benefits end.

Enrollment

Once eligible service ends, Pastor's Participation provides for one month of medical coverage at no cost to you or your employer. Transitional participation begins after any no-cost coverage period.

Carefully review the letter you receive from the Board of Pensions to ensure the benefits termination date quoted is correct; it may be different from your last day worked. Severance packages that include a continuation of employer-paid benefits extend the benefits termination date.

To complete the enrollment process:

  • You must complete the Transitional Participation Coverage Enrollment: Pastor's Participation, included in the termination materials you receive.
  • Your presbytery must provide written verification that you are unemployed and include the reason (e.g., you are seeking church-related service, you are a full-time student, or you are currently under discipline).
  • If enrolled in full-time postgraduate studies, you must also provide written verification from the school confirming your full-time student status in an advanced-degree program.

Once coverage through transitional participation is exhausted, you may enroll for medical continuation coverage. See medical continuation coverage for cost and coverage details.

If you choose not to enroll in transitional participation you will automatically receive one month of medical coverage and three months of death benefits at no cost to you or your employer.

Minister’s Choice

If you are enrolled in Minister’s Choice at the time your Benefits Plan membership ends, you may enroll in transitional participation for the following benefits:

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan;
  • Temporary Disability Plan; and
  • Death and Disability Plan

If you were enrolled in medical coverage through the Benefits Plan at the time your employer-paid benefits end, you may enroll for medical continuation. See medical continuation coverage for cost and coverage details.

Enrollment

Carefully review the letter you receive from the Board of Pensions to ensure the benefits termination date quoted is correct; it may be different from your last day worked. Severance packages that include a continuation of employer-paid benefits extend the benefits termination date.

To complete the enrollment process:

  • You must complete the Transitional Participation Coverage Enrollment: Minister's Choice, included in the termination materials you receive.
  • Your presbytery must provide written verification that you are unemployed and include the reason (e.g., you are seeking church-related service, you are a full-time student, or you are currently under discipline).
  • If enrolled in full-time postgraduate studies, you must also provide written verification from the school confirming your full-time student status in an advanced-degree program.

If you choose not to enroll in transitional participation, you will automatically receive three months of death benefits at no cost to you or your employer.

Graduated seminary students

If you were enrolled in the Benefits Plan during seminary, you may enroll in transitional participation to continue medical coverage after graduation. Carefully review the letter you receive from the Board of Pensions to ensure the benefits termination date quoted is correct.

To complete the enrollment process:

  • You must complete the Transitional Participation Coverage Enrollment: Pastor's Participation, included in the termination materials you receive.
  • Your presbytery must provide written verification that you are unemployed and include the reason (e.g., you are seeking church-related service, you are a full-time student, or you are currently under discipline).
  • If enrolled in full-time postgraduate studies, you must also provide written verification from the school confirming your full-time student status in an advanced-degree program.

Once coverage through transitional participation is exhausted, you may enroll for medical continuation. See medical continuation coverage for cost and coverage details.

Member couples

If you are part of a member couple, you may continue the member couple enhanced medical benefit by electing to continue medical coverage under transitional participation. Or, you may elect to be covered under your spouse’s medical coverage along with any eligible children, which would end member couple benefits. You could then self-pay to continue Pension Plan participation and/or death and disability coverage under transitional participation.

Considerations

If you do not want to continue coverage for yourself or eligible family members after your service ends, you do not need to do anything.

Please note, if you do not continue coverage and were enrolled in

  • Pastor’s Participation: You will receive one month of medical coverage and three months of death benefits at no cost to you or your employer.
  • Minister’s Choice: You will receive three months of death benefits at no cost.

Keep in mind, however, if you do not enroll for transitional participation, you may not be eligible to enroll in medical continuation or Medicare Supplement coverage through the Board of Pensions later. In addition, you may not be eligible for retiree death benefits. Call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) for details.