Clergy Pension Benefits

Wespath Benefits and Investments is the new name for the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits—it invokes John Wesley, and indicates a path to follow for financial success for those we serve. While our name has changed over the years, our commitment to helping participants achieve their retirement objectives through products and services aligned with the principles of the UMC has remained the same.

What’s in a Name
Over the course of our 108 years of service, the scope of our mission evolved and our name evolved with it, expressing the nature of our work. Our name has always described our service role and responsibility, as an administrative agency of The United Methodist Church.

And as our role evolved and expanded, our name became increasingly longer and yet it still did not describe everything we do in service to the Church. So what’s missing? At approximately $20 billion in assets under management, we are the largest reporting denominational investor in the world—and among the top 100 of all U.S. pension funds. But our name did not reflect the investment management aspect of our work.

In 2015, we received approval from our board of directors to rename the agency, effective in July 2016. The transition will continue throughout 2017, until you see our new name reflected on everything we develop and release.

As we considered the options we had to simplify the agency name and include the investments aspect of our work, the name “Wespath” was the logical choice.

Wespath—symbol and symbolism
We developed the name Wespath in 2010 as the brand for the investments division as they began to reach outside our normal sphere of conference contacts to increase assets under management.

The name was created with two important elements in mind:

Wes—recognizes and honors John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and a strong advocate for social justice;
Path—refers to our goal of providing participants and institutional clients with a path to follow in achieving retirement, health and investment objectives.

While the name Wespath honors Wesley, it also implies the other Wesleyan theological tenets—the importance of physical health, financial security and caring for God’s creation. Wespath reflects our Wesleyan heritage, and the notion of being on the right path in all three areas in which we operate for our participants, institutional investors and for the UMC. The name Wespath has already achieved name recognition across the UMC through the many UMC-affiliated organizations among our institutional investment clients.

The name Wespath is used with our long-standing agency symbol, which embeds the UMC Cross and Flame—continuing to connect us with the Church. Two simply stated words beneath it, identify the nature of our work: “Benefits and Investments.”

Our three agency divisions will also reflect the new agency name:

Wespath—Retirement Services
Wespath—Center for Health
Wespath—Investment Management
path to retirement and financial security
path to personal and missional vitality
path to achieving investment objectives




Retired Clergy:

2017 Retiree Healthcare Premium Stipend Allocation:

In order to be eligible for a conference healthcare premium stipend Provisional Elders, Associate Members, Elders in Full Connection and Full-time Local Pastors retiring from the Arkansas Conference must have served full-time in the denomination for a minimum of 10 years. Only conference responsible* full-time appointment years are eligible and must have been served in the former North Arkansas Conference, former Little Rock Conference or the Arkansas Conference. If you are retired and not currently receiving a conference Healthcare premium stipend you are not eligible to receive the stipend.

 The stipend will be a fixed dollar amount based on the maximum healthcare premium stipend. Eligible years of Active service only will determine the amount of the stipend. Additional years of service above 40 have no effect on the healthcare premium stipend. Clergy who work or serve an appointment after retirement will not receive additional years of service or an additional benefit of any kind.

*Conference responsible appointment years are defined as service in which the conference or local church is responsible for contributions to clergy pension plans; Pre-1982, MPP or CRSP.

  • The first ten years of service will accrue at 2% of the maximum premium gift or MPG per year:

   Clergy: 2% of $200 = $4.00                     

   Spouse: 2% of $150 = $ $3.00

  • The next 20 years of service will accrue at:

   Clergy: 3.5% of = $7.00

   Spouse: 3.5% of = $5.25

  • The remaining ten years of service will accrue at:

   Clergy: 1% of = $2.00

   Spouse: 1% of = $1.50

 Minimum Healthcare Stipend Added:

The maximum healthcare stipend is $200 for clergy and $150 for spouses. Effective January 1, 2016 the board will instate a minimum healthcare stipend benefit of $50 per month.

 Clergy who are married at the time of retirement will be given a supplemental spousal gift. If clergy remarry while in retirement the spousal supplement does not transfer to the new spouse. If the spouse outlives the participant, the spouse supplement will continue. As of July 1, 2016 a surviving spouse who remarries will not be penalized.

 Effective January 1, 2016: When a clergy dies while under an Active conference responsible appointment leaving behind a spouse (who is not eligible for Medicare) the conference will provide a healthcare premium stipend equal to $1000 per month for the first 5 years*. This benefit is considered taxable income. After the earlier of year 5, or Medicare eligibility*, the healthcare premium stipend will be based on clergy years of service.

Retired Clergy 1099R tax documents for 2016:

A copy of the 1099R tax documents were sent to retired participants via mail & are available online at the link below beginning the end of January. After logging in, go to “My Benefits,” then select the drop-down next to Retirement Benefits and choose “Tax Forms.”

Active Clergy Retirement Benefits:

CRSP- At a Glance-

Clergy Taxes, Housing Allowance-

Free Financial Planning Services with EY-

UMPIP 403b personal savings-

Virgin Pulse Fitness Program- Join Now!

Direct Billed Clergy Pension & CPP Premium Billing:

Beginning January 1, 2016 active clergy pension and welfare benefit costs are paid 100% by the appointive church through conference direct bill. The Ministerial Support apportionment line will provide funds for the Clergy EAP program, retiree/surviving spouse healthcare premium stipends, conference responsible extension ministry benefits and healthcare premium stipends for clergy on approved Medical Leave.

The calculations for 2017 clergy pension benefits are:

The monthly CRSP- DB benefit is 9% (July 1, 2016 forward reduce to 8%) of eligible “Plan” compensation. The CRSP-DC benefit is 2% non-matching contribution and 1% matching of eligible “Plan” compensation. “Plan” compensation as defined by the GBOP includes parsonage equivalent or housing allowance

The contributions for the death and disability plan CPP (D&D) premiums for eligible full-time appointed clergy are 3% of eligible plan compensation up to 200% of the DAC. The total pension & benefit multiplier is 14%.