Q&A: Can an Insurance Carrier Exclude a Disabled Pastor’s Housing Allowance from Benefit Calculations?
Q&A: Can an Insurance Carrier Exclude a Disabled Pastor’s Housing Allowance from Benefit Calculations?
A pastor’s housing allowance should always be considered part of a pastor’s total salary.

Our full-time minister has cancer and we filed a disability claim. The insurance carrier has refused to include his housing allowance as part of base salary benefit calculations. Instead, the carrier is only basing benefits upon $57,000—his salary minus his $24,000 housing allowance designation.

While the insurance policy salary/benefit limit is $81,000, the claims department points to language in the policy that is interpreted as meaning the housing allowance doesn’t qualify as part of the pastor’s salary. We have exhausted our “friendly negotiation” options and are wondering about next steps. Would it be wise to involve legal counsel in hopes of having the housing allowance included in the salary?

Our firm had a similar issue arise with regard to a disabled pastor we represented. As with your situation, the insurance carrier declined to include the housing allowance in determining compensation. The disabled pastor ended up suing and received a significant settlement from the insurance carrier.

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Posted: December 2, 2019
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