The Synod is required under the Insurance for Members of the Clergy Ordinance, to maintain insurance policies “in respect of the personal sickness of or accident” of paid members of the clergy. The policy applies for the whole period a member of the clergy is paid by the Diocese or a Parish. There are two policies maintained to fulfil this requirement, a Stipend Continuance policy, and a Personal Accident policy.
Briefly, the Personal Accident policy provides a fixed lump sum payment in the event of injury to a clergyperson. It is intended for such things as rehabilitation, and other incidental expenses arising from an accident. Clergy in South Australia do not participate in the state run ReturnToWork scheme (previously known as WorkCover).
The Stipend Continuance policy provides a degree of income protection for a clergyperson unable to work due to illness. As from 1 November 2015, the Stipend Continuance policy is provided by AMP, and managed on behalf of the Synod by the company Oakmont Financial Group.
In the event of Total Disability (I.e. not able to work at all due to illness) the terms are:
- Insured Benefit 75% of the Diocesan Base Stipend, Housing Allowance and Superannuation
E.g. for 2016: Stipend $51,454 + Housing $15,600 + Superannuation $9,262 = Total $76,316
Benefit is 75% = $57,237
- Waiting Period, before benefits may apply, is 90 days
- Benefit period is to age 65 if the clergyperson is aged under 63 at the end of the Waiting Period
- Benefit period is 2 years if the clergyperson is aged 63 or older at the end of the Waiting Period
If a clergy person is receiving a full benefit, they must not undertake any paid employment or the benefit will be forfeited.
The insured person may be eligible for a partial benefit after the 90 day waiting period, should they be able to return to work on a part time basis and in doing so earn a reduced income due to illness. This benefit would ‘top up’ the insured person’s income to 75% of Stipend Package. For ongoing Stipend Continuance claims, the insured person must confirm continued disablement by arranging for medical reports from the treating doctor on a monthly basis.
How the benefit is paid
The benefit of the policy is paid to the parish or entity to which the clergy person is licensed, and is paid through payroll. Benefit payments are taxable as income. We recommend that if a clergy person is unable to work for 90 days and a Stipend Continuance claim is lodged, that the stipend of the clergy person be reduced to the benefit which will be covered by the policy.
The Synod maintains the Personal Accident and Stipend Continuance insurance policies as required by ordinance. The provision of this policy does not preclude clergy from maintaining personal life benefits policies. We are not able to advise clergy on matters relating to personal policies, and independent financial advice should be sought.
How to Claim
In the first instance, to commence a claim please contact the Ministry & Parish Support Team. As illness and medical information can be sensitive, claims will be referred on to Oakmont Financial Group for management.