Defined Benefit Plan

Defined Benefit PlanChristian Brothers Retirement Planning Services administers the Christian Brothers Employee Retirement Plan (CBERP), a defined benefit plan that covers the lay employees who work for Catholic organizations or dioceses.

The CBERP provides a traditional form of retirement benefit, also known as a pension plan. The Plan was started in 1964, originally for the lay employees of the Christian Brothers Schools, but has been expanded to include any Catholic organization or diocese. The Plan is funded entirely by the participating employers. The benefit is based on a formula which is applied to an employee’s career covered compensation. The retirement benefit is normally paid as a monthly benefit for the life of the retiree. However, the participant can choose from a number of benefit options at retirement.

Past Service
The employer has the option of providing benefits for years of service prior to joining the Plan. This option can also be used for employers who want to merge an existing defined benefit plan into the CBERP.

Future Service
Employers can choose the percentage of contribution of salary to fund the employees’ pension, along with the corresponding benefit formula. The plan offers several options from which to choose.

Vesting
Four years, nine months gives right to a pension.

Benefit Formula Contribution Rate
2.64% 8.40%
2.04% 6.50%
1.89% 6.00%
1.57% 5.00%
1.32% 4.20%
1.10% 3.50%
Death Benefits for Active Employees
If a married and vested active participant over age 55 dies before retirement, the surviving spouse will receive 50 percent of the reduced benefit the participant would have received if he/she had started to receive payments on the date of his/her death in the form of a Joint and 50 percent to Survivor Annuity. If the participant is younger than age 55 at time of death, the surviving spouse will receive 50 percent of the reduced benefit the participant would have received if he/she had started to receive payment at age 55 in the form of a Joint and 50 percent to Survivor Annuity; however, this benefit will not begin until the date the participant would have reached 55. If a single and vested active employee dies before retirement, the designated beneficiary will receive a lump-sum payment for the value of the benefit, up to $10,000.

Retirement Age
Age 55 – early retirement at reduced benefits.
Normal retirement age under Social Security.

Normal Form of Payment
Single Employee – Life only (monthly benefit for life).
Married Employee – Joint and 50 percent to survivor annuity.

Optional Forms of Payment
Single Employee – Joint and 50 percent or Joint and 100 percent Survivor Annuity or 10 Year Certain and Life option. Availability of Joint and 100 percent survivor option may be limited based on government regulations. Election must be made prior to actual retirement date.

Married Employee – Life only (monthly benefit for life), Joint and 100 percent Survivor Annuity with spouse as, Joint and 50 percent or Joint and 100 percent Survivor Annuity with non-spouse, beneficiary, or 10 Year Certain and Life. Availability of Joint and 100 percent annuity option with non-spouse beneficiary may be limited based on government regulations. Election must be made prior to actual retirement date. Spousal consent is required.

IRS Approved
401(a) Plan – Plan is a qualified plan, earnings of the Trust are tax exempt. The Plan has received a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) that it is a “church plan.”

Pension Board
Seven members who administer the Plan according to the Plan Document.

Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security benefits are in addition to the benefits provided by CBERP. Social Security retirement benefits are not affected by benefits provided by CBERP, and CBERP retirement benefits are not affected by Social Security benefits.

Download Defined Benefit Plan Guide Sheet