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.
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.
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.
Brian R. Bodager
President/Chief Executive Officer
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!
READER SURVEY: WHAT TOPICS DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
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!
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.
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.
If you have any questions, or need help, please reach out to our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Beginning 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.
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.
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.