Christian Brothers Retirement Planning Services administers the Christian Brothers Employee Retirement Plan (CBERP), a defined benefit (DB) plan that provides a traditional form of retirement benefit, also known as a pension plan. The CBERP was started in 1964, originally for the lay employees of the Christian Brothers Schools, but has been expanded to cover the lay employees who work for any Catholic organization or diocese.
Unlike other retirement plans, including defined contribution plans such as 403(b)/401(k) plans, an employee does not normally contribute any money to a DB plan. A DB plan is funded entirely by the participating employers and is a source of retirement income from which employees are provided the option of a fixed, monthly income throughout their retirement. The retirement benefit is based on a formula, chosen by the employer, which is applied to an employee’s career covered compensation as defined in the Plan and 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.
For more information on DB plans, download our CBS Defined Benefits White Paper.
Christian Brothers Retirement Planning Services has assissted a number of Catholic organizations with taking their existing DB plan and merging it into the CBERP.
Employers who join the CBERP receive numerous benefits and the flexibility to match their contributions to their budgets. Employers are offered nine contribution levels, allowing them to select the one that best suits their retirement budget, and employees receive a solid foundation for retirement that is not market dependent, allowing them to plan for retirement income with greater accuracy and security.
Additionally, the CBS systems are much more advanced and capable of providing an enhanced level of service for employers and employees. CBS provides multiple data points that map out scenarios for different stages of retirement, offering additional detail that allows users to make a more informed decision.
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.
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.
Four years, nine months gives right to a pension.
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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.
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 or lumpsum. 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 or lumpsum. 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.
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.”
The Pension Board is elected by the participating employers in the Plan. The Pension Board administers the Plan according to the Plan Document and acts as the fiduciary for the Plan.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security benefits are in addition to the benefits provided by CBERP. The CBERP retirement benefit does not affect the cap that SSA allows a retireee to earn while collecting Social Security benefits.