June 19 Update from the Pension Boards

Dear Friends,

I hope that each of you and your loved ones continue to remain well.

Last year marked the first time the Pension Boards offered a Summer Internship Program. The 2019 experience was a resounding success, as shown in the reflections from the inaugural cohort. Two of the initial interns began their careers with the PBUCC staff team following graduation. When the pandemic made it necessary for us to work from home, the executive leadership team carefully considered whether the program could be offered this summer. Although circumstances were not what we had envisioned, and despite the unanticipated challenges, leadership remained committed to moving forward and our 2020 summer interns will begin their work with us starting June 22. Our goal as an organization is to provide a high-achieving group of college students and recent graduates the opportunity to work together with senior leaders and mentors toward specific, agreed-upon tasks while at the same time learning how their skills and capabilities contribute to advancing the Pension Boards’ mission and ministry of serving you from the intersection of Faith and Finance.

I am pleased to introduce to you the four young persons who will be serving their internships with the Pension Boards this summer.

Read this article for more details.

A growing number of employers and self-paying employees are using the Pension Boards online bill payment service to pay their monthly benefit invoices. We encourage all employers and self-pay employees to use the online portal, if you are not already doing so. There are many benefits to using the online billing portal, including having your payment applied immediately. The portal also supports our continuing “Go-Green” efforts by reducing the environmental and dollar costs of paper billing, both for you and PBUCC. Please see the article, Online Payment Portal for Members and Employers, below for more information.

As I write this message, we are entering into the fourth month since the office closure on March 16. New York City, where our main offices are located, remains in Phase 1 of the New York State reopening plan. Although we do not have a firm date for the reopening of our offices, we will continue to monitor state and local government and the medical community to determine when staff can begin to return safely. We will update you as plans unfold.

Thank you for your ministry to our church.

Stay safe and in good health,

Brian R. Bodager
President/CEO



A Pastoral Reflection on Racism

I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
– Ezekiel 37:5

I can’t breathe.

These were the final words of George Floyd, who was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. The same words were uttered by other persons of color who died of asphyxiation at the hands of police. The words have been adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement and are chanted by protestors in the U.S. and beyond in their demand for racial justice. The Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ joins in that demand; we condemn racism in all of its forms and commit ourselves to action.

Read The Full Letter >>



Online Payment Portal for Members and Employers

We strongly recommend that you take advantage of our online billing portals. Paying your monthly invoice electronically during this time is even more important. The Pension Boards online portal allows payments to be automatically applied to your account; it's simple, quick, and easy!

If you are unable to make your monthly payment online, it is essential that you include the remittance section from your invoice or include your employer or member ID on the check, and to mail your check to 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1592, Chicago, IL 60675-1592.

Please do not send checks for Annuity Plan pension contributions and Health Plan premiums to the Pension Boards at 475 Riverside Drive. Not mailing your check to our bank’s lockbox in Chicago or including your remittance slip or including an ID on the check will result in delays on posting payments to your account.

Employers

If you have not already set up an employer account on our website, click here to register for online bill payment. Select the New User link to register. You will need to have a valid email address on file with the Pension Boards. If we do not have a valid email address, please contact our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543. If a valid email address is on file, follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:

  • Log into the website at https://employers.pbucc.org/.
  • Select Billing, and then select View/Pay Bill to review your list of employees and invoice amounts.
  • If you agree with the total amount displayed, select Pay Now to pay your invoice.
  • Follow the prompts on the screen to set up your payments.

Members

Log into www.pbucc.org and sign in to your account.

  • Click on Pay My Benefit Bill on the Benefit Selection page.
  • Select Pay Bill on the left-hand side of the page.



Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI)

Launched in 2017 with a grant from the Lilly Endowment, MFVI is a clergy financial wellness initiative that helps UCC ministers address these problems in two ways: 1) through a three-year online program of financial education and cash incentives and, 2) through a matching grant partnership with the minister’s employing church, Association, or Conference.

A second Lilly grant, awarded to the Pension Boards in late 2019, enables us to expand MFVI’s reach to more ministers in 2020. Applications and information for MFVI Program One (online program of financial education) will be available in mid-July on the Pension Boards website. The program will accept 60 new members in two cohorts and because of the Lilly Endowment’s generosity, we are now able to open the application process to all UCC authorized ministers. Look for the link to the online application for Program One in future messages.

Applications for Program Two (matching grants) are accepted on a rolling basis and are available now! Authorized ministers in congregational settings may apply.

Read more on MFVI >>



EY Webinar: Exploring Social Security and Its Website

Social Security will likely be an important source of your retirement income, so we’ll help you better understand how the program works. Learn to navigate the Social Security website, including a “how-to” on accessing and using your Social Security Statement, which provides personalized estimates of your future benefits and your earnings history.

Register for one of these four 30-minute sessions:

Read the EY article, Getting estimates of your Social Security benefits.

For professional and unbiased one-on-one guidance on retirement planning, call an Ernst & Young LLP (EY) financial planner. EY Financial Planning Services is a Pension Boards benefit offered at no cost to actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan, as well as to retired members with annuitized accounts. Call the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047 or visit pbucc.eynavigate.com to learn more.

Used with the permission of Ernst & Young LLP.

 



Emergency Grants from the Christmas Fund

If you are experiencing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are:

  • a currently Authorized Minister in the United Church of Christ;
  • a lay employee of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • a surviving spouse/partner of the above; or a
  • a Member in Discernment for at least a year.

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.



Christmas in July

Each year, our Christmas in July appeal for gifts to the Christmas Fund allows the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance to keep pace with requests for help from those who serve the church. This year of pandemic, that need is acute and urgent. Whether you have been supporting the Christmas Fund for years, responded to one of those recent email appeals with a gift, or have never donated before, our siblings need you now more than ever. A gift of any size can make a huge difference in the life of a stressed colleague. Your gift could make all the difference.

You can choose to give online, or make checks payable to UCBMA, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, then mail to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.



New UCC Medicare Advantage Plan with Rx Effective January 1, 2021

After thoughtful review of available options, the Pension Boards has selected Humana, Inc., as the vendor partner to administer the UCC Medicare Advantage Plan with Rx, effective January 1, 2021. The new plan will replace the current UCC Medicare Supplement Plan w/Rx. Humana is a proven nationwide leader in providing Medicare Advantage Plans, consistently earning a 5-Star rating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Stay tuned for more details in the coming months, and visit the Pension Boards’ website the week of June 29 to view a recorded webinar about the new Plan.



Health Plans and COVID-19 Coverage

All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service. Click on the button below for additional information about benefits – including expanded coverage – during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More About Health Plans >>



Member Services

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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.

During this time, please remember that you can fax or email documents and forms to us at 212.729.2701 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively, avoiding delays that may occur with postal mail.


Stay informed. Visit the Pension Boards’ website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.