October 30 Update from the Pension Boards

Dear Friends,

With October almost at an end, we are entering the final stretch of 2020 – a year that has changed just about everything. In our communities, homes are festooned with seasonal décor, but in many places, there will be no trick-or-treaters knocking on the door and plans for upcoming holiday gatherings will be scaled down. Many, if not most, of our congregations continue to worship virtually, and are planning to do so throughout Advent and Christmas. With a new surge in COVID-19 cases, we remain careful, observing safety protocols to protect our health and the health of others.

In spite of the adjustments, life and work go on. We all have adapted, with flexibility and creativity. That is true for the Pension Boards as well. Now, well into our eighth month of mostly remote work, all business operations continue, and new strategic initiatives are being implemented. As I write this message, we are in the process of evaluating our 2020 objectives and developing our strategic goals for 2021. Our mission of serving you remains uninterrupted.

In response to your ongoing feedback and questions about the Annuity Plan for the United Church of Christ, last week we focused on one of the plan’s features – retirement income for life (the L in the PORTAL acronym, shown below). This week, and in upcoming emails, we will discuss some of the other advantages of investing for retirement through the Annuity Plan.

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Today, the focus is on P: Plan for your future and invest.

Planning for retirement is not passive; it is intentional. It begins with thinking about your retirement goals, considering factors such as budget, cash flow, and net worth and then developing a plan to increase savings, address debt, and set reachable goals.

The Pension Boards is here to help you throughout your journey.

  • Start by working with a financial planner. Annuity Plan members can access the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line (1.877.927.1047) and EY Navigate’s robust website for help in assessing and meeting their financial goals and planning for a secure retirement. This is a no-cost benefit available to Plan members – whether they are actively contributing, annuitants, or inactive – with no limit on the number of consultations with a planner.
  • Review Your Available Investment Options. The Pension Boards currently offers nine investment options (with two additional options coming January 1, 2021) designed to meet your individual goals based on your risk tolerance level during the accumulation phase of your career. These investment funds align with UCC values, bring social change, and care for our planet – all without sacrificing returns.
  • Consider a Hassle-free Investing Choice: Many of you have read about our Target Annuitization Date Funds or TAD Funds, which make investing toward retirement easier, especially if you are not a hands-on investor. TAD Funds automatically invest more aggressively (for growth) when you are years away from retirement, and more conservatively as you approach retirement. (At retirement, these Funds convert to a lifetime income annuity.)
  • Save Through Employer Payroll Deductions: Supplement your employer’s contributions to the Annuity Plan or establish your own retirement savings plan by making pre-tax or after-tax contributions to an Employee Retirement Contribution Account. UCC authorized ministers receiving Annuity Plan benefits in retirement have the added advantage of the housing allowance tax exclusion.

We hope you agree that the Annuity Plan offers distinct advantages not available in commercial retirement plans. Learn more about the Annuity Plan by downloading a copy of the Annuity Plan document on our website. You may also contact Member Services at 1.800.642.6543.

I pray that you and your loved ones will continue to be well and safe.

Best regards,

Brian R. Bodager
President/Chief Executive Officer


GENERATIONS: A JOURNAL OF FAITH AND FINANCE COMING IN NOVEMBER!

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The first issue of a new Pension Boards online publication, Generations: A Journal of Faith and Finance, addresses a variety of current issues related to the places in our personal and corporate economic lives where the values of faith intersect with our financial obligations and opportunities. The inaugural issue is themed: “Mobilizing Resources for Change.” Watch your email for an introduction!


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READER SURVEY: WHAT TOPICS DO YOU WANT TO SEE?



"For Such a Time as This"

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Gifts to the Christmas Fund in 2020 are needed now more than ever. Because of your past generosity, we’ve been able to respond to a record number of requests for emergency financial assistance from UCC clergy whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic. And we continue to supplement small pensions, help with the cost of medical insurance, and meet emergency needs faced by our retired and active UCC clergy and church lay workers. Your gift of any amount is urgently needed and sincerely appreciated. Please donate today.

In addition to your individual support, if you’re helping a church receive the Christmas Fund offering this year, please note that bulletin inserts, worship resources and more are now online only at www.christmasfund.org. Offering envelopes may be ordered at www.uccresources.com. Thank you for supporting the Christmas Fund!


 Online Payment Portal for Members and Employers: Getting Started

The online bill payment site will be down for routine maintenance starting Thursday, November 5 at 6:00 pm through Monday, November 9 at noon. The December monthly invoices will be available when the portal is back up on Monday, November 9.

Online payment is the New Standard for the Pension Boards. Please transition your monthly payment to our online portals today! If you are not already using the portals, it’s quick and easy to get started and transactions are secure. Click here for detailed instructions to set up your account. Your account, including any outstanding balances, and employee salary information, must be up-to-date before you use online bill payment for the first time.

Employers: Click here for a new, updated User Guide for online bill pay.


Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Fund 2020 Closing December 31

The Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Fund 2020 will close in December of this year. In anticipation of the closing of the TAD Fund 2020, you will need to select one of the two options below.

  • Annuitize your account: Please notify Member Services no later than October 31, 2020.
  • Select a replacement fund for the TAD Fund 2020: Please notify Member Services no later than 12:00 p.m. on November 30, 2020.
  • Any balance remaining in your TAD Fund 2020 on December 31 will automatically be moved to the Stable Value Fund.

If you have any questions, or need help, please reach out to our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543.


November Enrollments

Beginning next week, if you are a participant in the Basic UCC Insurance and Disability (LIDI) Plan, you are eligible to elect additional life insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents for 2021. Open enrollment for additional life insurance begins November 2 through November 30, 2020. To learn more, view the 2021 LIDI Plan Highlights booklet and view Frequently Asked Questions here.

Enrollment for the Flexible Benefit Plan for UCC Ministries, also referred to as Flexible Spending Account or FSA will be available through November 30, 2020. To learn more, view the Highlights of Your Flexible Benefit Plan for UCC Ministries. Stay tuned for more details.


UCC Medicare Advantage Plan w/ Rx: Update

The new UCC Medicare Advantage Plan w/ Rx will replace the current UCC Medicare Supplement Plan with Rx, administered by Humana, on January 1, 2021.

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Information Packets

Humana Benefit Kit packets to current participants in the current UCC Medicare Plan have been sent out, and you may have already received yours in the mail. You may also view the Humana Benefit Kit here.



Humana Informational Webinar

Earlier this week, the Pension Boards and Humana hosted a series of informational webinars about the new plan. We were pleased to see that several hundred current plan participants joined the webinars. If you were unable to participate or wish to review the information presented, a recording is now available. Click here to view the presentation.

Customer Care

As we prepare for the transition to the new Plan, Humana Group Medicare Customer Care is available to help. You may call Humana at 1.866.733.1872, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) with questions you may have about your coverage. When calling, please indicate that you are with the Pension Boards-UCC.


Generations Financial Resources: A New Service for MFVI Participants

Generations Financial Resources, Inc., is a lending corporation designed to help alleviate the crushing burden of clergy indebtedness in the UCC.

Working in coordination with the Minister’s Financial Vitality Initiative it combines personal finance education, needs-based grants to reduce debt levels, and most significantly, low-interest rate refinancing to substantially reduce the rates our clergy are paying on their educational debt. Watch this video to learn more.

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2021 Applications Close November 15 for Program One of the Ministers' Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI)

Thank you to all who have submitted applications for the Ministers' Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI) program. The Pension Boards will continue to review and receive applications through November 15. Sixty participants (two cohorts of 30 participants each) will begin their financial wellness journey in 2021. Applicants who are not received into the 2021 cohorts are encouraged to reapply next year.


Salary Report Update

As the Pension Boards transitions to a paperless environment and adapts to working remotely, we are converting to an online process for UCC churches and employers to update their employees’ salaries and pension contribution amounts. We will no longer send out the annual Salary Report to employers by mail in October.

Now, you may sign into your account on the Employer Portal and once logged in, select Salary Report/Update from the left-hand side of the page to make changes as soon as they occur. This will ensure that changes are timely, and that your monthly invoices will reflect the updated information as changes occur.

If you need a paper form, you may download and print a Salary Report Form from the Pension Boards website.

Should you have any questions, please reach out to our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543 for assistance.


New Effective Date Policy

GettyImages 995353918Beginning January 1, 2021, the Pension Boards' policy will be to accept only current or future dates on all benefit forms submitted to effect any benefit enrollment or change for our members. Retroactive effective dates will no longer be accepted. Look for additional communications regarding this change in coming weeks.


NEW! EY TaxChat App

The EY TaxChat™ app is an on-demand, mobile tax preparation service that connects Pension Boards members with Ernst & Young (EY) tax professionals in an easy-to-use online environment, making the filing of tax returns simple, fast, and reliable.

  • Get securely matched with EY tax preparer most suited for your tax situation
  • Rely on a dedicated EY professional to prepare and file taxes for you
  • Costs start at $199 - much less expensive than a traditional tax preparation service


PBUCC members get a 10% discount using referral code: PBUCC20. If you register by December 31, you will receive an additional 10% discount. Learn more here. To receive a free, no-obligation price quote, click here.


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, www.pbucc.org.


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.