Emergency Assistance Grants

The Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions provides grants to assist with emergency or unexpected needs for which eligible members of the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) do not have the necessary funds.

The Board of Pensions is unable to receive and process mail at this time while our offices are closed. To apply for a grant, email your completed application form to memberservices@pensions.org. If you have any questions, please contact us.  

“Your compassionate understanding of our stressful financial circumstances is testimony to God’s mercy and grace.”

Emergency Assistance Grants are one-time grants available to individuals for emergency or unexpected needs, such as a family emergency, custodial care at home, or any number of special situations beyond Benefits Plan or other coverage. These grants are initiated by a mid council, employer, or multiple bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which typically share with the Assistance Program in the cost of the grant. In extraordinary circumstances, the Board of Pensions may consider requests from congregations and mid councils for Emergency Assistance Grants that fall outside these parameters.

The Board considers applicants’ financial and personal needs and resources before distributing assistance.

Who’s eligible

To qualify, you must have an emergency or unexpected financial need and

  • be employed by a PC(USA) congregation, mid council, agency, or affiliated organization and be enrolled in the Medical Plan or the Defined Benefit Pension Plan of the Board of Pensions; or
  • receive a retirement or survivor's pension from the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


The amounts awarded vary with the need. Grants range from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 each. An individual may be awarded emergency assistance of no more than $15,000 in a 12-month period.

How to apply

Individual grants

If you think you may qualify for an Emergency Assistance Grant and you are a minister of the PC(USA), contact your mid council. If you are enrolled in medical coverage through the Board of Pensions or in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan as an employee of a congregation, mid council, agency, or a PC(USA)-affiliated organization, speak with your employer.

Your mid council or employer must complete and sign the Emergency Grant Application and submit it to the Board of Pensions at the address on the form, along with documentation of the specific need and resources available for the total grant amount requested.

Mid councils and employers are typically expected to share equally in the provision of the grant. Mid councils and employers who are unable to do so must provide a statement indicating why emergency or benevolence funds are not available to assist with the grant. The Board of Pensions will consult with the mid council or employer to confirm the need for assistance and ensure that resources for Emergency Assistance Grants have been exhausted and no community resources are available.

Group grants/natural disasters

In the event you are affected by a natural disaster, contact your mid council or employer. They will provide their Board of Pensions Church Consultant with the number of ministers and employees affected. The Board will make emergency assistance decisions after receiving information on the magnitude of the need. Group grants for natural disasters are available to PC(USA) employers only, who manage their distribution.

Excluded from consideration

The Board of Pensions does not approve requests that seek to

  • subsidize an employer’s responsibility (e.g., ensure an employee receives compensation if the employer cannot pay it);
  • substitute for or augment a presbytery or employer's support of a terminated employee (i.e., pay a severance package);
  • substitute for unemployment compensation or other programs accessible to the applicant;
  • subsidize an individual’s choice to retire before the age of 65 or to opt out of Social Security;
  • provide loans to the applicant;
  • provide moving expenses, except in certain extreme cases, such as those occasioned by serious, long-term illness, disability, or divorce;
  • pay legal fees, fines, or penalties (including all taxes, SECA, or FICA allowances); or
  • pay Benefits Plan dues.

Need help?

​Call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).