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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    about

    Unemployment, Workers’ Compensation and Short-Term Disability Insurance

    Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

    The Upper New York Conference office has seen an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims for Conference staff. We have received a few calls from churches who participate in unemployment insurance that they have as well. Please note: Churches are not required to participate in unemployment insurance but some voluntarily do for their lay staff.

    Follow the steps below if you receive a fradulent unemployment claim:

    1. If the church, as the employer, receives documentation from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) about a claim being filed, contact the employee and ask if they filed the claim.
    2. If the employee did not file a claim, advise the employee to contact the Department of Labor https://dol.ny.gov/report-fraud and tell them there was a fraudulent unemployment claim filed in their name.
    3. If you (the church employer) verbally spoke to your employee, it is prudent to follow up with the employee with the guidance you verbally provided.
    4. Do not ignore the claim.
      • Filing a report is very important because the documentation we are receiving include the employee’s name, address, wage information, and social security number (potential identity theft).  
      • Filing a fraud report with the state will ensure nothing is paid out under the church’s account. 
      • Reporting it also includes clear steps on how to proactively protect the employee from identify theft, including getting set up for free credit monitoring.
      • If you receive any documentation about a fraudulent unemployment claim, please report it to the DOL and your employer right away. 

    If you have questions on unemployment, please contact Tracy Rickett, Human Resources Generalist, at (315) 898-2017 or email at tracyrickett@unyumc.org.


    NYS Unemployment Insurance

    In general, virtually all employed persons in New York are covered by unemployment insurance. However, New York State’s Unemployment Insurance law provides exclusions from coverage for certain persons rendering services to not-for-profit corporations including United Methodist churches. Section 563 (2) excludes services rendered to a non-profit organization. The church must cover employees that perform non-religious services for unemployment insurance. Such staff would include, among others, administrative secretaries, local church treasurers, janitors/custodians, and financial secretaries that are paid by the local churches for their services (“covered wages”). Click here for more information.

    Unemployment Resources:


    Workers' Compensation Insurance

    The Upper New York Annual Conference has a master insurance program for all churches, conference offices and operations, camps and affiliated organizations, which includes workers' compensation coverage for employees of the Conference, as well as employees of local churches (both clergy and lay), in accordance with New York State law. Benefits are payable for medical expenses and partial salary continuation in the event of work related accident, injury, or illness. The amount and duration of payment depend upon the nature of the injury or illness.

    Any employee who is injured or becomes ill on the job must report this as soon as practical to his/her supervisor in order to ensure that appropriate medical attention is sought, and report and claim forms are completed and submitted in a timely fashion. Failure to report a work related accident, injury, or illness as soon as possible could jeopardize an employee’s right to receive worker’s compensation benefits in response to that incident.

    It is expected that when a person who is covered by the Church’s workers compensation policy is not working for more than one week due to a medical condition, and salary is being continued, that said person will file a claim for benefits to be reimbursed to the church. Should the clergyperson/employee desire not to file a claim, their salary may be reduced by the expected amount of the insurance reimbursement upon action by the SPRC and notification to the District Superintendent.

    To File a Claim:


    Workers' Compensation Resources:


    Short-Term Disability Insurance

    The Upper New York Conference provides short-term disability insurance through Guardian Insurance for all employees (both clergy and lay) of local churches, conference offices and operations, camps and affiliated organizations in accordance with New York State law. Benefits are payable for disability due to non-work related accidents, injuries or illnesses. Payments may be made for up to 26 weeks after a one week waiting period. Maximum reimbursement to the church/employer is 50% of wages up to $170 in benefit per week.

    Any clergy person or employee who needs to file a claim for disability benefits should complete a claim form (below). The church treasurer should complete the Employer Statement. Policy numbers are provided on the Certificate of Disability Insurance.

    • For active clergy claims, the questions pertaining to continuation of salary and reimbursement to employer (13 & 14) should be answered “YES.” (Churches should have their own policies in relation to continuation of salary for lay employees.)
    • For retired clergy serving a church in retirement, the church is not responsible for continuing salary if a pastor is on short-term disability. The carrier, if the claim is approved, would send a check directly to the clergy person (50% of pay up to a max of $170/wk).

    The claimant will then provide the DB450 to his/her physician to complete the Physicians Statement. The physician’s office can submit the claim directly to Guardian at the address on the form.

    Claims should be filed within 30 days. 

    It is expected that when a person who is covered by the Church’s disability policy is not working for more than one week due to a medical condition, and salary is being continued, that said person will file a claim for benefits to be reimbursed to the church.  Should the clergyperson/employee desire not to file a claim, their salary may be reduced by the expected amount of the insurance reimbursement upon action by the SPRC and notification to the District Superintendent.

     

    Short-Term Disability Resources:

    • Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits (DB450) – There are two forms that need to be completed and submitted to Guardian together within 30 days of the start date of disability. 

                Form #1 – Employee and Health Care Provider complete this form.  This form was updated in 2022.

                Form #2 – Employer Form

    • Certificate of Disability Insurance (DB 120.1) requests - please contact Tracy Rickett, Human Resources Generalist, at (315) 898-2017 or email at tracyrickett@unyumc.org or Suzannah Emerson at SEmerson@WalshDuffield.com.
    • Questions about specific Disability claims should be directed to Guardian at (800) 268-2525 

    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."