Vol. XIX, Issue 28
An Actuarial Update is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Central Time. The call will be recorded and shared for those who are not able to attend.
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Meeting ID: 889 5750 1949
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Meeting ID: 889 5750 1949
With many of our daily tasks taking place online and on mobile devices, it is important to make it easy for people to find the information they need, when they need it. With this in mind, we've been working to update Benefits Access to improve the ease and experience for participants. We expect to launch an enhanced Benefits Access experience as early as June 6.
With an enhanced Benefits Access, participants will find the site:
The Benefits Access website address and participants' personal log in information remains the same. All the tools and information participants are accustomed to are still there—likely with fewer clicks to get there.
We know that some 2020 retirees haven't yet completed their benefit selections. We don't anticipate any disruption to their election process due to enhancements to Benefits Access. In fact, we hope it creates an improved experience for them. Targeted communications will be sent to our soon-to-be retirees so they will know what to expect when visiting Benefits Access after June 6. We will provide information to assist them in making their retirement benefits elections. And, as always, our Customer Service team will be there to help.
All documents on wespath.org will be updated to reflect new Benefits Access site navigation. After June 6, we encourage you to check your conference websites and offices for materials that may contain old navigation directions and replace them. Please note the navigation and design of the Benefits Access Portal for Plan Sponsors and the Benefits Access App remains the same.
Participant communications will begin tomorrow through our weekly participant e-blasts.
If you have any questions about these Benefits Access enhancements, please contact Tony Prestipino at 1-847-866-4560 or firstname.lastname@example.org or your conference liaison.
On Friday, May 15 (after business hours), the Treasury Department (Treasury) and Small Business Administration (SBA) published a loan forgiveness application under the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The forgiveness application includes step-by-step instructions that clarify some questions borrowers have had about forgivable costs. Treasury has also issued a press release, in which they promise additional regulatory guidance soon to help borrowers complete this application. Treasury's press release states: "SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities." Borrowers may want to await these forthcoming regulations before completing applications for PPP loan forgiveness.
PPP loan forgiveness is based on the borrower maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The loan forgiveness form and instructions include several provisions to ease the process for borrowers, including:
In addition, borrowers will need to supply the lender and SBA a list of employees (page 9) and an array of other substantiating documentation (page 10). It appears that documents to be submitted must include "[p]ayment receipts, cancelled checks, or account statements documenting the amount of any employer contributions to employee health insurance and retirement plans that the borrower included in the forgiveness amount." The mention of account statements might suggest that the SBA is focused mainly on individual retirement accounts (defined contribution plans) and not necessarily thinking about how this might apply to defined benefit plan expenses.
The forthcoming forgiveness regulations may offer some additional guidance on some of the open questions and observations noted above.
Questions from Plan Sponsors
Wespath staff is receiving questions from plan sponsors, who are PPP borrowers, about payment of retirement plan and health plan costs during their forgiveness periods, and requests for related documentation. Although we await the forthcoming forgiveness regulations, Wespath is determining how we can provide plan sponsors with flexibility, support and necessary documentation for their PPP loan forgiveness applications.
PPP Resources for UMC Employers
Wespath continues to partner with the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) to analyze CARES Act guidance and provide relevant information for local churches, annual conferences and other UMC employers. These resources are available:
We expect additional guidance soon from Treasury and SBA about PPP loan forgiveness, and will update documents as needed. Please direct any questions you may have about the CARES Act (including PPP loans, the Employee Retention Credit, etc.) to Tony Prestipino, Andy Hendren, Steve Clark or Jim O'Connell.