April 21 Update from the Pension Boards

April 21, 2020

Dear Friends,

We pray that these messages continue to find you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

In this sixth week of remote operations, we are continuing to follow New York State directives, which now have extended closures until May 15. We will keep you apprised when a decision is made to reopen our offices, but in the meantime, all staff continue to function at full capacity from their homes.

As mentioned in last week’s message, the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis has made personal finances precarious for many, including clergy and lay employees serving the UCC. At the time of this writing, requests for emergency assistance for the first three weeks of April are more than triple what they were for the entire month of March. If you are in a position to contribute to the Christmas Fund, we urge you to consider doing so now, to enable us to continue providing emergency financial assistance for those in immediate need. Please see the updates from our Ministerial Assistance and Philanthropy teams (below) with additional information.

We encourage you to stay up to date by visiting the Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page for benefits information and other resources available to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.

As we move forward with plans for holding the Annual Meeting of Members online, please take advantage of the online voting portal to vote for your proxy representative to the annual meeting and for Trustees: https://vote.associationvoting.com/pbucc/. (Please note: You will need your seven-digit Pension Boards Member ID number to vote online.) Additional information about the online Annual Meeting will be provided separately.

Thank you for your faithful ministry to our church.

Wishing you peace and good health,

Brian R. Bodager
President/CEO


New! Fireside Chat Series: Episode #3

Over the past several weeks, we have shared information about the Pension Boards’ expanded health care coverage during the pandemic. Please view the latest installment in our “Fireside Chat” video series – an interview with Faith and Finance Director Rev. Jim Moos and Health Services Representative Jennifer Markewitz.



UCBMA Emergency Grants

If you are facing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are a:

  • current Authorized Minister in the United Church of Christ;
  • lay employee of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • surviving spouse/partner of the above; or a
  • Member in Discernment for at least a year.

If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.



Can You Spare Your Stimulus Check?

For many, government-issued stimulus checks are a welcome and essential boost at a precarious financial moment. Others, though, are blessed to have resources to survive without it. If you are able, would you consider donating your stimulus check, or a portion of it, so that money can reach those United Church of Christ pastors and lay workers who are struggling? The Christmas Fund for Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund exists to provide direct financial assistance to those who need it most. You can choose to give online, or make checks payable to UCBMA, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, then mail to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.



Delayed: May Invoices for Employee Benefits

Our vendor has experienced a delay in the mailing of the May benefits invoices. You should expect to receive the invoices this week. However, employers have the option to pay invoices online. There are several benefits to using online bill payment:

  • You will avoid the cost of postage, as well as the mail delays that are occurring now.
  • You will receive confirmation by email that your payment has been made.
  • You will avoid the guesswork of your payment being received by the May 1 deadline, since it is posted on the day you make your payment.

Using your Internet browser, go to https://employers.pbucc.org/ and select the New User link to register. In order to register, you will need to have a valid email address on file with the Pension Boards. If we do not have a valid email address, you will need to contact our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543. If you do have a valid email address on file, follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:

  • Select Billing.
  • Select View/Pay Bill to review your list of employees and invoice amounts.
  • If you agree with the total amount displayed, select Pay Now to pay your invoice.
  • Follow the prompts on the screen to set up your payments.

If you have any questions, please contact Member Services at the number listed above. Thank you for your participation in the benefits plans administered by the Pension Boards.



Health Plans

All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service.

  • COVID-19 testing, which is available currently at no cost to participants in the UCC Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plan with Rx, will now include other tests (e.g., flu tests, blood tests, etc.) that are deemed medically appropriate to determine the need for the COVID-19 diagnostic test. Please contact Highmark Member Service at 1.866.763.9471 with any questions.
  • SilverCloud provides online cognitive behavioral therapy services to all health plan participants. Access programs to help cope with stress, sleep and more at https://carenow.silvercloudhealth.com/signup/
    • You will be prompted for a PIN upon registration, please use the following PIN: C@re2020!
    • The platform will be available through June 30, 2020, expiring on July 1, 2020
  • Through May 31, all in-network deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments are waived for participants in the UCC Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement with Rx Health Plans who require hospitalization following a positive test for COVID-19.
  • The normal copay for telemedicine services through Teladoc is also waived at this time.

If you need tools and techniques to manage stress during the COVID-19 outbreak, register and tune into Health Advocate’s webinar, COVID-19: Establishing Emotional Balance in Challenging Times. Learn the successful strategies for maintaining good mental health. Register now.

If you have any questions, or experience any problems with your health coverage, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.



UCBMA Emergency Grants

If you are facing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are a:

  • current Authorized Minister in the United Church of Christ;
  • lay employee of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • surviving spouse/partner of the above; or a
  • Member in Discernment for at least a year.

If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.



Corporate Social Responsibility

During this time of pandemic, the Pension Boards’ work carries on, including its commitment to an active ministry of Faith and Finance through sustainable investment and shareholder activism.

PBUCC participates in the Ecumenical Action Group (EAG), a group of faith-based investors engaged in shareholder activism and dialogue with publicly-traded companies doing business in conflict areas such as the West Bank and Western Sahara.

PBUCC was a signatory to a November letter requesting a meeting with Microsoft to discuss the company’s human rights due diligence process as it related to investments in AnyVision, which specializes in facial recognition software. At the time, Microsoft said it had initiated an audit to determine AnyVision’s activity and asked the signatories to wait for the results of the audit. Ultimately, Microsoft completed the audit and decided to divest its holdings in AnyVision.

This outcome was a significant advancement in human rights and leadership on the part of Microsoft. It also highlights the engagement work of EAG, faith-based investors, and the participation of PBUCC and United Church Funds in such groups to promote the principles of responsible investment and the social justice tradition of the United Church of Christ through pronouncements and resolutions of General Synod.



EY Financial Planning Services®

This time when most of us are working remotely may be an ideal time for you to discuss your financial concerns together with your spouse or partner and an EY financial planner, at no cost to you.

Financial planners are trained in topics of importance to Pension Boards members, including PBUCC-administered plans and programs. The financial planners deliver independent, objective, and confidential financial education and counseling, and can assist you with your financial planning goals.

EY Financial Planning Services® is a Pension Boards benefit offered at no cost to actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan, as well as to retired members with annuitized accounts. Call the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047 or visit pbucc.eynavigate.com to get started.



CARES Act Webinars

Learn about the many provisions the CARES Act provides through EY’s special webinars. Register for the following 30-minute session by clicking on the link below:

Click here to access a recording of a previous CARES Act webinar.

Visit the Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page for additional information about the CARES Act.



Member Services

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Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website.

During this time, please remember that you can fax or email documents and forms to us at 212.729.2701 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively, avoiding delays that may occur with postal mail.


Stay informed. Visit the Pension Boards’ website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.