The 2020 Iowa Annual Conference Session Board of Pensions (BOP) report was given by Dave Peterson, Chair for the Conference Board of Pension and pastor at Clear Lake UMC, Clear Lake, Iowa.
“Needless to say that we are in uncharted waters as we continue through 2020 and looking forward to 2021. The BOP has been active throughout the COVID-19 Crisis and continues to monitor the situation regarding our pension plan’s investments and also discerning what steps we can take to help relieve the local church/charge financial situation,” said Peterson.
Watch the Board of Pension Report - here
At their last meeting in May, the BOP took action to help local church/charge(s) with their Direct Billing. They developed the COVID-19 Streamlined Direct Bill Assist Program and the COVID-19 Payroll Assist Program.
The COVID-19 Streamlined Direct Bill Assist Program
is for any local church/charge which is unable to pay their direct billing in full. The BOP will allow up to three months of assistance for up to 50% of their direct billed benefits. There is a streamlined online application process with fewer requirements than the BOP’s regular direct bill assistance program. This program is available from March 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.
The requirements for the COVID-19 Streamlined Direct Bill Assist Program are the following:
- The local church/charge(s) must submit an online application signed off by the chairperson of either the SPRC or Trustees.
- Said chairperson must attest to the fact the local church/charge has explored all available options and is unable to pay direct bill expenses and this shortfall is directly related to the COVID-19 crisis.
The applications will be forwarded to the BOP committee for review and their decision will be final. The financial documents, stewardship plan, and apportionment requirements will be waived under the new streamlined program. Any local church/charge who is turned down or needs assistance after three months may apply through the normal direct billing assistance process. Direct billing will be adjusted based on the committee’s approval within 30 days.
The COVID-19 Payroll Assist Program
is a one-time interest-free $1,000 loan for local church/charge(s) available now through October 1, 2020. The loan will be due on January 31, 2021. If at that time it is determined that the church/charge has no practical way to repay the loan, the Direct Bill Assistance committee or BOP Executive Committee can decide to make the loan forgivable.
COVID-19 Payroll Assist Program
requirements are the following:
- Local church/charge must have applied for the PPP forgivable loan. Eligibility for the payroll assistance is not based on whether the local church/charge received funds, only that they applied for funds.
- Local church/charge must be participating in direct billing for clergy benefits at least four months from March 2020 to December 2020.
- Local church/charge board of trustees must apply for the loan.
With the COVID-19 Payroll Assist Program, the $1,000 will be deducted from the following months' direct billing. If the financial situation results in the church/charge not having the cash flow to cover payroll and direct billing, the local church/charge may ask for disbursement by check or eft. The repayment of the loan must be complete by January 31, 2021.
For those of who have Pre 82 retirement funds, your benefit is figured on how many years of Pre 82 credit you have times the Past Service Rate (PSR) and that is your yearly amount. In 2020 the Pre 82 PSR was $654. For 2021, the BOP is increasing the Pre 82 PSR to $674.
For 2021, the Iowa Annual Conference will be staying with Wellmark On the Blues Choice Program. There will be a 4.16% increase. This plan includes 97% of the doctors and 100% of the hospitals in Iowa. The plan deductibles will remain the same—$3,500 for single and $7,000 for families
As a mandatory plan, Single plan participants are not charged any portion of the premium. The Family plan will increase for the clergy from $452 to $471/month. The Church share will increase from $1,393 to $1451 per month.
For 2021 the BOP will be depositing $1,500.00 into your HSAs at $125.00 per month. There will be no requirement in 2021 to complete wellness activities to receive the full monthly contribution.
Effective July 1, 2020, the BOP is implementing a new program for all clergy (active and retired), Iowa Annual Conference staff, and all family members within the household. We are contracting with Employee & Family Resources (EFR) for this service. All participants are enrolled at no cost to them.
The Board of Pensions has contracted for its Core EAP program, which includes:
- Dedicated account manager
- 24-hour call center
- In-person assessment by licensed counselors
- Short-term counseling & referral provided by licensed counselors
- Life coaching
- Legal consultation
- Financial consultation
- Identity theft resolution services
- Eldercare resources
- Childcare information/referrals (where available)
- Management consultation (performance management tool)
- Crisis response including on-site services
- Monthly EAP newsletters, webinars on a variety of topics
- Monthly wellness motivators
- Quarterly wellness campaigns
- Various assessments
The Board of Pensions Action Item #601 which included the approval of the Board of Pensions Report, Ministry Plan, and the Housing Exclusion Motion for retired clergy which has been mandated by the IRS can be found on pages 58- 63 of the Pre-conference Manual.
Action Item #601 passed with a final vote of 665 yes to 12 no.
The Board of Pensions also elected new board members and officers which included the following:
- New members: Dwight Hicks, Ron Bupp, Ed Peterson
- Officers: Dave Peterson, chair; Alan Allard, vice chair; Bob Holdorf, secretary