From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Pastors without Social Security should opt in, board says

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 01 Mar 2000 14:48:52

Feb. 29, 2000 News media contact: Tim Tanton·(615)742-5470·Nashville, Tenn.

By United Methodist News Service

Clergy members of the United Methodist Church who have opted out of Social
Security should consider getting back into the program while there's still
time, a denominational agency says.

April 15, 2002, is the deadline for re-enrolling in Social Security,
according to the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits,
based in Evanston, Ill. However, the agency is encouraging people to file as
early in the tax year as possible, since Social Security taxes would still
be owed for the entire year.

The agency manages the pensions and benefits for about 65,000 United
Methodist clergy members, lay employees, spouses and surviving family

Clergy members who opt back in won't pay back taxes or penalties for doing
so, and previously earned Social Security credits will count toward
eligibility, according to the winter 2000 edition of the board's Hark!
newsletter. To qualify for retirement benefits, a participant must have 40
credits, which would accrue through about 10 years of work.

The board outlines four reasons for considering opting back in:
·	Medicare. People who are 65 years old and are receiving Social
Security benefits usually qualify for Medicare automatically. Moreover,
someone who is eligible to receive Social Security benefits can get Part A
of Medicare - the part that pays for hospitalization - without having to pay
premiums. Part A is covered through payroll taxes.
·	Disability. Participating in Social Security provides basic
protection from catastrophic illness or injury.
·	Supplemental retirement income for the pastor and family. Anyone
with enough Social Security credits can receive retirement benefits at age
·	Survivor benefits. Pastors who earn enough credits while they're
working can ensure that, after they die, Social Security provides benefits
to some surviving family members.
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United Methodist News Service
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