April 14, 2020
We hope you and your loved ones experienced a joyous and blessed Easter. We continue to pray that these messages find you healthy and safe.
The Pension Boards is now entering its fifth week of remote operations, in compliance with state mandates. At this time, we anticipate continuing to work remotely for the remainder of April, at which time we will follow state, city, and federal guidelines to determine whether it will be necessary to extend the current staff deployment.
The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis has made personal finances precarious for many among us. We are receiving a growing number of requests for assistance. If you are able to donate to the Christmas Fund, we urge you to consider a gift now. Your gift will enable emergency financial assistance for those in immediate need. You can choose to make a secure online gift, or make checks payable to “UCBMA,” earmarked for “The Christmas Fund,” then mail your contribution to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.
We hope you have visited the Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page for the latest updates concerning your benefits and other resources available to you during this time. We will continue to provide these email updates as well, weekly or more frequently as needed. Please contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.
For those of you who have accumulation accounts in the Annuity Plan, first quarter 2020 accumulation statements are now available when you log in to your account on our website. Click here to view a video interview with Chief Investment Officer David Klassen, in which he provides a commentary on financial markets.
As we continue to move forward with plans for holding the Annual Meeting of Members online, we encourage you to take advantage of the online voting portal to vote for your proxy representative to the annual meeting and for Trustees: https://vote.associationvoting.com/pbucc/. Your vote will be recorded and your voice will be heard. (Please note: You will need your seven-digit Pension Boards Member ID number in order to vote online.) Additional information about the online Annual Meeting will be sent to members separately.
Thank you for your confidence and trust in us.
Wishing you peace and good health,
Brian R. Bodager
View a "Fireside Chat" video with CIO David Klassen and Rev. Jim Moos, Executive Director of Faith and Finance Ministries.
As an alternative to mailing in your monthly benefit payments, employers may start making your monthly invoice payments online on our website at: https://employers.pbucc.org/.
Once you receive your May, you may pay it online. You will receive further instructions either by mail or email (if there is an email address on file). Instructions are included with the May invoice.
You may continue to mail your monthly invoices and checks directly to our bank:
Do not send payments to the Pension Boards offices.
The following information is available on our website to assist employers during the COVID-19 pandemic:
CARES Act Frequently-Asked Questions
Additional Online Information and Resources About Benefits Under the CARES Act
A Message for Churches and Employers from the Pension Boards General Counsel
All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have expanded the coverage for COVID-19 testing, by strongly encouraging clinicians to test for other causes of respiratory illness during a patient’s visit. This means that testing for COVID-19, which is available currently at no cost to participants in both the UCC Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement with Rx Plans, will now include other tests (e.g., influenza tests, blood tests, etc.) that are deemed medically appropriate to determine the need for the COVID-19 diagnostic test. Please contact Highmark Member Service at 1.866.763.9471 with any questions.
If you need tools and techniques to manage stress during the COVID-19 outbreak, register and tune into Health Advocate’s webinar, COVID-19: Establishing Emotional Balance in Challenging Times. Learn the successful strategies for maintaining good mental health. Register now.
If you have any questions, or experience any problems with your health coverage, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.
If you are facing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are a:
If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.
As part of our commitment to social and sustainable investing that incorporates environmental, social, and governance factors, the Pension Boards has invested $25.9 million in African Development Bank's “Fight Covid-19” social bond. PBUCC is among a small number of leading ESG investors to invest in this bond, which helps fund essential services such as health care, water and sanitation, and supporting employment. Click here to read more.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law in late March, is the third of three stimulus bills to address the growing economic distress being caused by COVID-19, particularly on small businesses. Specific to pastors, ministerial employees, and the wider church community, the CARES Act makes accommodations for religious groups that past economic stimulus actions did not include. Click here to read more.
Click here for Additional Online Information and Resources About Benefits Under the CARES Act.
Learn about the many provisions the CARES Act provides when you join EY for these upcoming special webinars. Register for one of the following 30-minute sessions by clicking on the link below for the date/time you wish.
Tuesday, April 14 at 11:00 a.m. ET (On Demand Recording)
Tuesday, April 14 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Monday, April 20 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Wednesday, April 22 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website.
Annuitants who receive monthly benefit payments from the Annuity Plan received their April annuity payments without delay or interruption. In addition to the Pension Boards’ business continuity processes, Northern Trust, as administrator to the Annuity Plan for the United Church of Christ, has robust contingency plans of its own, ensuring that annuitants receive their benefits on time.
Please contact Member Services’ call center at 1.800.642.6543 if you need assistance or have any questions concerning your annuity payments.
The Pension Boards has indefinitely suspended all non-essential staff travel. Staff are available to participate in meetings remotely by Zoom videoconferencing, as needed. Please contact us if you would like to schedule a Zoom presentation by a Pension Boards staff member.