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Brethren Pension Plan Handbook

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The Plan is a church retirement savings account program described in section 403(b)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Code permits denominations and churches to set up retirement plans designed to save tax dollars now and in the future. The Plan takes full advantage of these tax savings, while at the same time providing you with several different investment options through which your money can grow.

This Handbook is a Summary of the Plan.

The Plan is governed by the Plan’s legal document. In the event that this summary is inconsistent with the Plan document, the legal document will control.

     Introduction

The Church of the Brethren established the Church of the Brethren Pension Plan (the “Plan”) for all ministers, missionaries, and lay employees of the Church of the Brethren agencies and affiliates who are eligible and elect to participate, as described below. This Plan provides the means for your employer to set funds aside for your retirement. In addition, it enables you to set aside a portion of your earnings in a tax-advantaged manner during your working years.

The Plan is a church retirement savings account program described in section 403(b)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Code permits denominations and churches to set up retirement plans designed to save tax dollars now and in the future. The Plan takes full advantage of these tax savings, while at the same time providing you with several different investment options through which your money can grow.

The Plan is intended to be adopted by eligible church-affiliated employers. By adopting this Plan, your employer can establish its own 403(b) plan, separate from the 403(b) plan of any other eligible employer.

You are encouraged to read this handbook carefully, along with your employer’s Adoption Agreement, to understand how your employer’s Pension Plan works.

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This Handbook is a Summary of the Plan
The term “Plan,” as used in this summary, refers to the retirement savings account program administered by the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc., which your employer has adopted. This handbook is a summary of only that Plan and its investment options. This summary does not describe any other agreements that your employer may have with providers of other 403(b) arrangements.

You should refer to these pages first when you have a question about the Plan. This description highlights the main provisions of the Plan and includes important information. However, because this description is just a summary, it cannot describe how the Plan works under every conceivable set of circumstances. In all cases, your rights under the Plan are governed by the Plan’s legal document. In the event that this summary is inconsistent with the Plan document, the legal document will control. A hard copy of the Plan document describing the retirement savings account program administered by BBT may be obtained from your employer or from the Church of the Brethren Pension Plan office. 

Special Terms
You will see that there are many terms in this handbook that are either italicized or capitalized. These are important terms that have special meanings. These terms are defined in the glossary that is at the end of the handbook.

The Plan is a Defined Contribution Plan
Plan contributions come from employer contributions and contributions you make. All contributions are credited to your account in the Plan. The tax laws limit the amount of contributions that both you and your employer can make to the Plan on your behalf.

The Plan is an Important Part of Your Financial Security
The primary purpose of the Plan is to provide Plan members and their beneficiaries with retirement income. The contributions to your account are an important part of financial security in your retirement. Additionally, Social Security (if you have not elected out of it), personal savings any other retirement savings, and home ownership also contribute to your financial security at retirement.

At retirement, your total account balance in this Plan — that is, all contributions (employer and employee) plus investment earnings — forms the basis for calculating your retirement benefits, portions of which may be payable to you in the form of a monthly annuity, in periodic installment payments, or as a lump sum.

Remember, it is generally expected that all contributions made to the Plan will stay in the Plan until you retire. You should understand that this Plan is not intended to be a liquid savings account. Rather, it is a long-term retirement account. Therefore, the Plan generally does not permit you to withdraw contributions made to the Plan on your behalf, or to roll over funds from this Plan into another retirement plan until you reach age 59 1/2 or have retired.

Joining the Plan

Receiving your Retirement Benefit

Contributions

Withdrawals

Investments

Plan Facts

Other Plan Provisions

Glossary

Building financial security

Bettering the world

Together

Brethren Benefit Trust provides retirement benefits, health and welfare benefits, asset management, and financial advocacy to pastors, employees, and members of the greater Church of the Brethren community.

Since it began as the Pension Board in 1943, BBT has been called to serve its members and clients, and we are thankful for that opportunity.