The Assistance Program Caring for Church Workers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Giving and receiving The Assistance Program embodies our connectional Church at its best, in giving and receiving. Generous individuals freely give the funds that support the Assistance Program, including one-half of the Christmas Joy Offering. Fully 100 percent of each gift received supports the program. If you don’t need financial assistance and are in a position to help others who do, we welcome your gift at pensions.org/giveassistance. If you think you may be eligible to receive a grant through the Assistance Program, we welcome your call at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN). The Assistance Program expresses our care for one another by helping PC(USA) ministers, employees, and their families in need. Together, we are the body of Christ.
“We give because we need to spiritually; because we receive joy at giving; because it is needed by the recipients; and because we have been faithful Presbyterians all our lives.” - ASSI STA NC E P RO G RAM D O N O R
Supporting ministers and congregations in other ways H E A LTH Y PA STO R S, HEALTHY CO N GREGATIONS
As a Church, we must faithfully address pastors’ financial challenges if we are to build congregational leadership for the future. With the help of a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Board of Pensions is supporting congregational ministry through Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations, an innovative financial education program that combines pastor and congregational leader education with grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying pastors. The grant may be used to reduce or eliminate the pastor’s educational or other debt, or to boost personal savings in the Retirement Savings Plan. PAT H WAYS TO R E NEWAL
Pathways to Renewal is a dues incentive program for employers that brings young ministers into the Benefits Plan with the full benefits of Pastor's Participation at substantially reduced dues. It is designed to provide hope of renewed leadership to small congregations and support to innovative ministries. The employer’s eligibility for the dues discount runs up to five years. G RAN TS FO R O RG AN IZ IN G PASTO RS AN D EVA NGE LI STS
The Board is helping presbyteries support the evangelism of new ministries and the cultivation of new churches. We will provide 30 grants to presbyteries that employ organizing pastors and evangelists (church job code 301) when they enroll these ministers in Pastor’s Participation in the Benefits Plan. The grants are renewable annually, for up to five years, and can cover the full cost of benefits.
Why it matters The Assistance Program is one way in which we, as individuals and the Church, answer the Gospel call. It is how we make Godâ€™s grace manifest. When pastors and other church workers are burdened by deep financial concerns, they cannot bring their best gifts to ministry. We want to lift those burdens and help their ministries thrive. When retired church workers and other church workers whose housing and other costs are beyond their means must make sacrifices beyond any their congregations ever imagined, we want them to live with dignity, even joy. When any church worker, whether active or retired, habitually places othersâ€™ needs before their own and does not think to seek help for themselves and their families in need, we want them to know the Assistance Program is here and that they are deserving of its support.
Connecting The Board of Pensions looks to leaders of mid councils, churches, and other PC(USA) employers to make ministers and other church workers in need aware of the financial support available to them through the Assistance Program. Please encourage those individuals with financial need to reach out to the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).
2000 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19103-3298 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) firstname.lastname@example.org MCE-201-0819
CA RI NG CO M M U N ITY
The desire for wholeness at the heart of the Gospel inspires every Board of Pensions plan and program, from our benefits offerings, to CREDO, to new forms of ministerial support. This is especially true of the Assistance Program, the Board of Pensions’ longstanding ministry of caring for those who serve the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Through it, the Board offers need-based grants to active and retired ministers, employees, and their families. These grants range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and total more than $5 million a year.
How we can help The Assistance Program helps support church servants with a wide range of financial needs. A pastor may be ministering to members of a congregation while carrying a personal burden that takes a significant financial and emotional and spiritual toll. Maybe a long-serving minister, now retired, needs the services of an assisted living community but can’t afford it. Or maybe it’s a bad year — one in which the roof leaks, the water heater breaks, and the car needs major repairs. Even joyous occasions, from adoptions to sabbaticals to children starting college, may be reasons to receive a grant. During times of need, the Assistance Program provides tangible support by caring for church workers and restoring shalom.
Types of Grants Each grant type has its own eligibility requirements. Generally, all grants offered by the Assistance Program are available to all ministers, and some are open to employees, spouses, and surviving spouses as well. Most grants are for one-time purposes; a few are ongoing and renewed annually. M IN I ST E R S I N ACTIVE SERVICE
Minister Educational Debt Assistance Grant The Assistance Program helps ministers in need repay educational debt through Minister Educational Debt Assistance Grants. This makes it easier for ministers to accept a wide range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry.
Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grant* Without Sabbath rest, congregational ministry and supporting congregational ministry can lead to burnout. Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants provide a portion of the financial support ministers need for a sabbatical for personal and professional renewal. Amount: up to $3,000.
Amount: $5,000 per year, for up to five years. Total awards may not exceed $25,000 over five years.
“Your compassionate understanding of our stressful financial circumstances is testimony to God’s mercy and grace.” - GR A NT R ECI P I E NT
Each year, the Assistance Program gives out more than 1,000 grants, for a total of over $5 million. ALL ACT I V E M E M BERS
Adoption Assistance Grant Adoption Assistance Grants help eligible Medical Plan members pay for a portion of adoption-related expenses. Amount: $3,000 per child. Emergency Assistance Grant* An Emergency Assistance Grant assists with a one-time emergency or unexpected need for which an active or retired minister, employee, or surviving spouse lacks the resources and the mid council or employer also lacks funds. The need could be an extraordinary medical expense, a family emergency, custodial care at home, or any number of special situations.
Shared Grant A Shared Grant helps with an emergency or unexpected need for which an active or retired minister, employee, or surviving spouse lacks adequate funds. The need could be an extraordinary medical expense, a family emergency, custodial care at home, or any number of special situations. These one-time grants are initiated by a mid council, employer, or other bodies of the Church willing to share equally with the Assistance Program in the cost of the grant. Amount: Varies by need.
In addition, we have provided Emergency Assistance Grants to groups of employees affected by natural disasters, working with the mid council or employer in the affected region.
Transition-to-College Assistance Grant This one-time grant helps eligible families of freshmen entering college with transitional expenses, such as a computer purchase or dorm furnishings.
Amount: Up to $5,000 each, and $15,000 total in a 12-month period.
Amount: $500 to $1,000, as determined by need.
RET I R E E S
Housing Supplements We provide monthly Housing Supplements to eligible retired ministers and employees in need, and their surviving spouses, so they may remain in their own homes or move to retirement facilities in locations of their choice. In addition, one-time help with the entrance fee to a retirement home is available. Amount: Varies by need. Income Supplements We provide Income Supplements to raise to certain levels the monthly income of ministers and employees who have served the Church for many
years at modest wages. Supplements run for the duration of recipientsâ€™ lives, unless their financial circumstances change. Amount: Varies by need. Retiree Medical Grant Dental services and hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or the Medicare Supplement Plan a â€” gap that can cause financial stress. This need-based grant helps eligible retirees and their spouses or surviving spouses pay for these otherwise uncovered dental services and/or hearing aids. Amount: Up to $2,500, once every three years.
*Retirees also have access to Emergency and Shared Grants.
For eligibility requirements and details, visit pensions.org/assistance.