Counseling Resources and Financial Aid Information and Form

Clergy seeking information about counseling assistance for themselves or their family members may read and complete this form.

This program provides information and financial assistance to clergy and their families who are seeking counseling and psychotherapy from professional counselors or agencies. It is funded through the Ministerial Education Fund and administered by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Minnesota Annual Conference.

How to get counseling help:
When you or a family member wishes counseling help, contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, Behavioral Health Services. After providing initial consultations at not cost to you, if further assistance is needed, they will refer you to a counselor, counseling center, or treatment center and arrange to start at once.

If there is a provider you prefer, you may contact them directly without going through the E.A.P.

If you are using an E.A.P. recommended provider you will be covered. If you are not using an E.A.P. provider, check with your insurance to learn if your licensed mental health professional or agency is covered. If one of these resources is not available or not appropriate for your needs, you may seek help from another qualified mental health or treatment professional.

North Central Career Development Center provides help for clergy facing career direction issues through a contract with the annual conference. They also assist with pre-retirement issues.

Where to start:
File an insurance claim.  Call the insurance company with whom you are insured for instructions to file a claim.   Insurance benefits usually are greater for the clergy family than the conference financial assistance program.  Discuss possible insurance benefits with counselor.

You cannot collect financial assistance from the conference while being reimbursed by your insurance.  You can collect conference assistance for sessions for which you have not received insurance.  This includes sessions covered by the deductible.

If the insurance company does not honor a claim, talk with your health care professional.  He/she may be of assistance when insurance claims are rejected.  Insurance benefits do not cover all certified mental health professionals.  Your policy may cover only individual counseling and not couple or family counseling. Jean Edin, 612-230-6136 is the benefits officer for the annual conference.  She is a resource if you are having difficulty.

How to get financial assistance from the annual conference:
Complete and submit a signed Financial Assistance Claim Form (provided by the Annual Conference) with a copy of the counselor’s bill and any required insurance forms.  Send to:  Jean Edin, MN Annual Conference.  You must submit a claim to your insurance company even if you know that the deductible will apply.  You will need an explanation of health benefits form from them stating they have rejected your claim.

Submit bills regularly; monthly is preferred.  Do not accumulate several to send in together.

A check payable to you will be sent to you for the conference’s share of the bill.  You are responsible for paying the entire bill, however, you usually can make arrangements with him/her regarding payment while financial assistance and insurance claims are pending.

The program allows payment up to 50% for 12 counseling hours with a maximum payment by the conference set at $65 per hour or session.  Examples:  If the fee is $100 per hour, conference assistance will be $50.

Beyond 12 hour/session limit, the rate for further financial assistance will drop to 25% of the hourly fee. (maximum $32.50)

You will be reimbursed by the conference up to a maximum of $1,000 per family member per year.  Each January conference benefits begin again.  If your counseling expenses exceed insurance payments and conference assistance, and continued counseling becomes a financial hardship, contact your district superintendent about other conference resources available.  If unsure about what to do, contact Jean Edin.

The program is completely confidential.  No one has access to any records without your written authorization.  No one will know of your counseling of financial assistance unless you disclose it yourself.

Conference funds for counseling are provided through the budget of the Ministerial Education Fund and administered by the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Who can receive conference financial assistance?

  • Persons who have pursued all insurance benefits available to them and qualify in one of the following:
  • Full clergy member or probationary member of the conference, active, retired or appointed to attend school .
  • Full clergy members or probationary members of other annual conference who are appointed to a local church in the Minnesota Annual Conference.
  • Local pastor under appointment within the bounds of the Minnesota Annual Conference, active or retired.
  • Diaconal minister, related to the Minnesota Annual Conference, active or retired.
  • Any listed above on disability leave, sabbatical or family leave.
  • Spouse of minor dependent of any of these including 19-23 year old college students.
  • Spouse of a deceased full member, probationary member, lay pastor or Diaconal minister not yet remarried.

Persons divorced from clergy are covered for one year following the divorce decree.  If counseling is begun during this one-year period, assistance will be provided for one year from the date counseling is begun.

Where to get more information: Jean Edin, Benefits Officer, at 612-230-6136, or Cindy Gregorson, director of ministries, at 612-230-6124.

Address Financial Assistance claim forms and billing for the conference program to: Jean Edin, Minnesota Annual Conference UMC, 122 West Franklin Ave. #400, Minneapolis, MN   55404

Questions about career counseling or pre-retirement issues:  North Central Career Development Center. (651) 636-5120 or 516 Mission House Lane, New Brighton, MN 55112

In summary, this program will pay as follows:

  • half of the deductible of insurance
  • half of the cost of the first 12 counseling hours, but will not exceed $65 payment per hour or session
  • a portion beyond 12 hour/sessions if arrangements are made in advance with our consultant, Dr. Mary Honstead.

There is an $1,000 limit per individual per calendar year.

*Clergy name
*Phone number
*Address 1
Address 2
*Clergy's relationship to the Annual Conference
Full member
Probationary Member
Lay Pastor
Phone number
*Health Insurance carried by the client
Conference insurance plan (Blue Cross/Blue Shield)
Other insurance company
If other, name of insurance company

An insurance claim must be submitted before applying to the conference for financial help. If you have not applied for help from your insurance for any available benefits, stop here and do not complete this form.

*The first date of service recorded on the accompanying bill is
Initial conference financial help
Continuation of help

1. Collect Insurance Benefits:  This kind of coverage varies from one insurance company to another, so submission of a claim to the insurance company is necessary to ascertain if there are benefits. The conference will not provide financial assistance when insurance benefits are available to cover the cost of counseling. The conference will provide assistance toward the deductible. It is necessary to submit an insurance claim to determine the amount of deductible applied to counseling before requesting conference assistance. If there is still a need for financial assistance for continued counseling after insurance benefits are exhausted, the conference also will provide assistance.

2. Submit bills monthly if possible when you are receiving conference assistance. Complete the reverse side of this form and send the signed form to Jean Edin at the address given below.  This form must be filled out completely each time a bill is submitted.

3. If your health provider is Blue Cross/Blue Shield then you need to submit an explanation of health care benefits form with this claim form. 

4. If your counselor is a not a provider with your health care provider documentation is needed from the either the counselor or health care provider to that effect.  You must also submit documentation that you have not exceeded the limit on your policy.

5. If your health insurance is Blue Cross/Blue Shield and your counselor is not a provider you do not have to submit documentation to that effect, only an explanation of health care benefits form.

6. Jean Edin, the Conference Pension & Benefit Officer, will send a check, payable to you drawn on a separate account to maintain confidentiality. A blank copy of this form will be sent to you at that time for future use. Jean, bound by HIPAA (privacy) rules, will be the only person who will know that you have submitted a claim.

7. Clergy are responsible for paying the balance of their bill to the counselor.

8. If you have any questions or problems regarding insurance coverage or the process for financial assistance from the conference, please contact Jean Edin at 612-230-6136 or Rev. Cindy Gregorson at 612-230-6124.

Send appropriate documentation to:

Jean Edin, Minnesota Annual Conference

122 West Franklin Avenue, #400 =, Minneapolis, MN55404

*Please NOTE: If you are applying for assistance beyond the usual 12 session limit of the program, please check one of these:
Dr. Honstead has approved assistance for additional counseling
Dr. Honstead has not approved assistance for additional counseling
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