Clergy and Diocesan Lay Employee Benefits

Below are several links to documents describing benefits of the various medical, dental, disability, life insurance, and retirement savings plans available to clergy and eligible lay employees of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware. These are benefits each church has access to but each church has a choice about whether or not to provide some of them, e.g. life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability. The General Convention requirements around Lay Pension Plans and Medical Benefits have some requirements.

Contact us!

If you have any question about employee benefits not answered by the documents listed below, please contact:
Judith Lane Gregory, Canon for Finance and Administration
Episcopal Diocese of Delaware
913 Wilson Road
Wilmington, DE 19803-4012

(302) 256-0374 ext. 108 or

Active Lay Employee Handbook

Active Lay Employee Handbook (PDF)

This document includes newer policies for email and internet use, whistleblower, ADA, Anti-violence as well as information about the benefits that are available to qualified employees working within the Episcopal Church in Delaware.  We have also removed several appendices that belong in a procedures manual that is being compiled.  These will be posted at a later date.

Church Pension Group

Many benefits listed below are offered under the umbrella of the Church Pension Group.

Medical, Hospitalization and Dental Benefits

All eligible active clergy employees enroll in one of three medical insurance plans. The 2021 Diocesan Base Plans will be the Anthem BCBS Blue Card PPO 80 and the Anthem BCBS CDHP *20/HSA (Consumer driven health plan coupled with a Health Savings Account – HSA). The Insurance Committee of Bishop and Council believes that these two plans, though different, are comparable. The third and fourth plans are the Anthem BCBS Blue Card PPO 90 Plan and the BDBS Blue Care PPO 100 Plan, as premium sharing plans.  The MS Anthem Blue Card PPO 80 and MS Anthem Blue Card PPO 90 Plans will be offered for those eligible for Medicare and enrolled in Part A and are employed by an employer with under 20 employees.

All plans provide  (Express Scripts), mental health (Anthem), and eye-care (Eye-Med) benefits.   Eligible employees sign up for these plans at the time of employment or during the open enrollment periods that occur in the fall.  Please see APPENDIX B of the Active Clergy Guide for current 2021 rates.

Health Benefit Handbooks can be opened at the following links:

2021 Anthem BlueCard PPO80; 2021 Anthem BlueCard PPO90; 2021 Anthem BlueCard PPO 100; 2021 Anthem BlueCard CDHP *20/HSA; Anthem BCBS Handbook

Employees who are 65 years old, are eligible for Medicare, are employed by an eligible small employer and are covered by a plan sponsored by The Episcopal Church Medical Trust may enroll in a Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP).  MSP is the term used when Medicare is not the primary payer of your medical claims.  Medicare allows for an exception to the MSP.   A small employer may request that Medicare serves as the primary payer for eligible Medicare beneficiaries by seeking a “small employer exception.”  When Medicare becomes the primary payer of medical claims, the cost of providing medical coverage will be lower because your health plan through The Medical Trust becomes the secondary payer.  The reduction in cost may reduce premiums compared to plans in which Medicare is not the primary payer.  An employee’s out-of-pocket medical costs may be lower, too.  For an employee or their eligible dependent(s) to be approved for these plans, they must first be enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance).  Please contact the Business Manager for additional information.  Please refer to the Member Fact Sheet.

Under the terms of the DHP, clergy and lay employees who have medical benefits through approved sources will be allowed to waive medical coverage under the DHP (“opt out”) and choose to maintain their medical benefits through the approved source.  Examples of approved sources include coverage through a spouse’s or partner’s employment, medical benefits through a government-sponsored program such as  Medicaid or TRICARE, or coverage from a  previous employer. The list of approved  sources is subject to change based on the federal healthcare reform law.  An employee may elect to waive coverage at the initial point of employment, during annual open enrollment, or at the time of any significant life event. The employee will need to reaffirm the election to waive coverage on an annual basis, as determined by the Medical Trust.

If a spouse has coverage under the plan with their place of employment, children are covered under the most beneficial plan.

Dental Plans

 The Diocese provides access to three dental plans provided and administered by Cigna Dental through The Medical Trust.  The Standard Plan is the Basic Dental Plan. The Dental and Orthodontia Plan is an optional buy-up plan, and the Preventive Dental plan is a lower cost option which can also be chosen. Click here for dental benefit information.

Hearing Benefits

Disability Benefits

  • Short-Term Disability for Clergy and Lay Employees – The Income Replacement Plan helps an employee with maintaining income should the employee become disabled.  This benefit is available to both clergy and lay employees through their employer. All clergy persons who meet the following criteria are automatically receiving this benefit : 1) are Actively working in an Episcopal organization, 2) are canonically resident in the US, and 3) whose pension payments are current.   Lay employees and their employers must make the choice to enroll for this coverage. Lay employees must be working for an Episcopal organization and work a minimum of 20 hours per week.   Here is the link to some Common Questions about the Short-term disability Plan.Call (866)802-6333 for additional information.
  • Lay employees of the Diocese of Delaware self-insure for this benefit.  All Diocesan employees should review the Lay Personnel Manual Section F  – Sick Leave, Leave without Pay, Short-term Disability and Long-term Disability for additional information.  Short-term disability benefits are payable at 100% of an employee’s weekly base pay for calendar days 31-90, then at 70% for calendar days 91-180.  This benefit is available for all employees working 20 hours or more each week.  Calendar days 1-30 are considered a “waiting period.”
  • Long-Term Disability for Active Clergy   Full time, active participants in the clergy pension plan also receive a disability retirement benefit for total, continuing disability that renders them unable to work through the Church Pension Group.
  • Long-Term Disability for Lay Employees –   If Short-term disability continues after 180 days, a long-term disability insurance plan through UNUM Insurance Company of America provides 60% of their gross monthly wages reduced by any pension benefits or Social Security benefits. The maximum benefit is $3,000.00 per month.

Life Insurance for clergy and lay employees

Clergy Life InsuranceChurch Pension Group. If you are an active member of The Church Pension Fund, you have a Group Term Life Insurance benefit equal to four times your total compensation to a maximum of $100,000. You also have an additional $25,000 of Group Term Life Insurance paid for by the congregation you serve.

Life Insurance for Laity is through UNUM Insurance Company.

  • Basic Term Life Insurance and Optional Term (Supplemental) Life Insurance description
  • Enrollment Kit: Group Insurance, Employee Application for Membership
  • Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Form  (You can fill out this form on your computer, but then you need to print it. It cannot be saved. Or print out the form and fill it out by hand.)

Pension for clergy and lay employees

Clergy: Canon law requires your church employer to pay pension assessments to the Church Pension Fund. The Fund’s Board of Trustees has set the assessment rate at 18% of your annual compensation package. Thus, as an active participant in the Church Pension Fund, you share in a comprehensive plan for financial security throughout your ministry and into retirement. As you plan for your future, your pension plan offers flexibility and the comfort of knowing that once you retire, you are assured of your full benefits throughout retirement.

Lay Employees: Our Defined Benefit Plan assures participating employees a base pension benefit throughout retirement. The amount of the benefit is determined at the time of retirement and will not decrease. Your employer makes contributions based on 9% of your salary.

Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP)

Our retirement savings plan is through the Church Pension Group. The RSVP lets you save for retirement in a tax-effective way. This flexible savings plan allows both pre-tax and after tax contributions. In 2015, you may contribute up to $18,500 before taxes if you are under age 50, and an additional $6,000 if you are 50 or older. The total that you contribute may not exceed 100% of your salary or $53,000, (or $59,000 with catchup), whichever is less. Your investment grows tax-deferred until the money is withdrawn, usually after age 59-1/2.

Flexible Spending Account

The Diocese offers a Flexible Spending Account through Paychex, Inc. An FSA is a pretax benefit allowable under Internal Revenue Code Section 125. The plan allows eligible employees to set aside a specific pretax dollar amount for unreimbursed medical, dental, vision, over-the-counter items, and dependent care expenses. Since FSA deductions come out of your paycheck as a pre-tax benefit, less wages are taxed, resulting in more take-home pay for you. Regular payroll deductions help you budget medical, dental, vision, over-the-counter, and dependent care expenses.

Please contact Business Manager Judith Gregory if you would like to take advantage of this product.

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