April 29 Update from the Pension Boards

Dear Friends,

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

Pension Boards staff continue to work remotely in accordance with New York State directives. Our executive team has begun planning for the eventual re-entry into our offices, but at this time we cannot say with certainty when that will be. Be assured that all staff are operating at full capacity during this period of isolation. Please read the message from Rev. Rick Walters, Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (below) for a reflection on how the Pension Boards is ministering to you during the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to daily operations, our 2020 organizational strategic objectives – designed to better meet the needs of our members – are progressing on schedule. I would like to share with you three efforts that help us better serve members and employers now and well into the future.

  • Employer Online Bill Payment. All employers can now pay monthly invoices online using the Employer Online Bill Payment portal, which allows them to pay monthly invoices online. This functionality also supports our “Go Green” efforts by reducing – and ultimately eliminating – the printing and mailing of invoices. This feature is especially timely, given the unavoidable postal delays we are experiencing at present.
  • Investment Peer Group Standing. The Pension Boards’ investment performance continues to shine in comparison to peer group performance. Year-to-date, the Equity Fund is in the top 37%, the Bond Fund is in the top 33%, and the Balanced Fund is in the top 37% of their respective peer groups according to Lipper Analytical. The Global Sustainability Index Fund is in the top 19% of its peer group. All Pension Boards funds are in the top half of their peer groups, net of all fees, for the one-, three-, and five-year periods.
  • Communications. In order to ensure rapid responsiveness to members and employers, the Communications Team has scaled-up its existing communications efforts and developed new ones to keep our members well-informed. The positive feedback received will shape our communications efforts into the future.

The Annual Meeting of Members will be held as a virtual videoconference at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) on Thursday, May 14. There is still time to vote online for your proxy representative to the Annual Meeting and for Trustees, if you have not already done so, at: https://vote.associationvoting.com/pbucc/. The voting portal will close at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, May 13. (Please note: You will need your seven-digit Pension Boards Member ID number to vote online.) Instructions for participating in the online Annual Meeting will be sent separately via email later this week to all members of the Annuity Plan.

The Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page is updated regularly with new information on benefits and resources available to UCC employees and employers. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.

Thank you for your faithful ministry, and for your support of the Pension Boards.

Wishing you peace and good health,

Brian R. Bodager

New! Fireside Chat Series: Episode #4

View the latest installment in new our “Fireside Chat” video series, as Faith and Finance Director Rev. Jim Moos and Rev. Martha Cruz, Communications and Church Relations Officer, discuss how the Pension Boards is communicating with members during the pandemic.

A Pastoral Reflection from the Rev. Rick Walters

Along with the leadership team and my colleagues at the Pension Boards, as well as many others in the wider church and throughout our world, I have been reflecting deeply about the questions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on those struck by the disease, their families, caregivers, and communities, and our sincerest prayers go out to all of them. But as a ministry of the United Church of Christ that serves some 20,000 clergy and lay church workers and the many congregations and UCC-related organizations participating in our health, annuity, and other benefit plans, we are especially challenged with the questions posed by this crisis specifically to the church and what it may become on the other side of the darkness.

Many of our congregations, already challenged by economic pressures due to decline, changing demographics, new technology, and the high costs of old buildings – including insurance and deferred maintenance – are faced with the new pressures of virtual gatherings, reduced contributions and doing pastoral care while socially distancing. As if this were not difficult enough, government red tape and long lines for service even to seek the meager relief now available are extremely taxing on small staff congregations and part-time clergy already stretched to their limits.

What can we learn from this experience as a church, as a financial ministry of the United Church of Christ, and as individuals concerned about the health and wellness of our leaders, parishioners, congregations, and institutions?

Read more here >>

Emergency Grants from the Christmas Fund

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

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

EY Personal Finance Resources

The COVID-19 outbreak has made its indelible mark in both our personal and financial lives. Ernst & Young offers several article resources in the latest edition of “Understanding Personal Finances,” to help you manage potential challenges to your financial security in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Eight Tips for Managing Your Finances During the Pandemic
  • How The CARES Act May Help You Stay Financially Secure During and After the Pandemic
  • Stay Calm During Market Volatility
  • Why Asset Allocation Matters in Investing
  • What the SECURE Act Means for Your Retirement and 529 Plans

Employer Online Payment Portal

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.

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.