USS currently has two sections - the Final Salary section and the Career Revalued Benefits section. Both sections are currently 'defined benefit' which means the benefit you receive is worked out using a known formula.
With effect from 1 April 2016 all USS members will become members of the Career Revalued Benefits section of USS in respect of future membership. Additionally, as soon as practicable after 1 April 2016 a new ‘Defined Contribution’ section of the scheme will be introduced. Full details on the new arrangements can be found on our scheme changes site 'USS For the future'.
The following information relates to membership up to 1 April 2016
Should you be looking for information regarding auto-enrolment please see our auto-enrolment section.
Final Salary section
The Final Salary section provides benefits based upon your service and final pensionable salary when you leave or retire. Benefits are calculated using the following formula:
More information about this section can be found here in the Final Salary section of the website.
Career Revalued Benefits section
The Career Revalued Benefits section provides benefits based upon your salary for each year that you are a member. At the end of each scheme year in which you have been a member, benefits are calculated using the following formula:
This is added to any previous years’ benefits, and each year your benefits are revalued until you retire.
More information about this section of USS can be found here in the Career Revalued Benefits section of the website.
Which section am I eligible for?
I am new to USS
If you join USS and you have not been a member previously, you will be eligible for the Career Revalued Benefits section.
I have been a USS member previously
If you re-join USS before 1 April 2016 you will be eligible to re-join the Final Salary section if you left the Final Salary section after 30 September 2011 and re-join the scheme within 30 months of leaving and you retained your past service benefits in the scheme.
Otherwise you will join the Career Revalued Benefits section.
Please note that if you are a re-employed pensioner or flexible retirer taking up an additional post then you will be eligible to join the Career Revalued Benefits section only. Additionally, your contribution rate will be different to the ordinary contribution rate. Further information and example rates can be found here on the auto-enrolment page.
When you commence employment, if you have been a USS member before but your employer initially is unable to confirm your entitlement to re-join the Final Salary section, you will automatically be put into the Career Revalued Benefits section pending confirmation from USS as to which section you are eligible to join.
As the contribution rate for the Career Revalued Benefits section is lower than for the Final Salary section, if it is confirmed that you are able to join the Final Salary section, your employer will make an adjustment to recover the additional 1% contribution due.
Receiving a promotion normally has no affect on your pension provision.
However, if your employer provides different pension arrangements for academic/comparable staff and support staff and you are promoted to a grade eligible for USS, then you will have to leave your existing scheme but will be able to join USS if you wish. If you join USS this will be the career revalued benefits section of the scheme. If you decide not to join USS then you cannot normally remain a member of your previous pension arrangement.
There is however an exception to this if you are promoted to a USS eligible grade with the same employer.
This exception only applies if you were already a contributing member of a final salary type pension scheme and that scheme’s rules allow you to remain a member of your existing scheme following your promotion. In order to apply for this exception you need to elect using the form here.
Before doing so please speak to the pensions contact at your institution to ensure that you are eligible for this election. They will confirm whether your existing scheme is a final salary type scheme and that the rules of that scheme allow you to remain a member following your promotion.
The form should then be completed and forwarded to the pensions contact so they can confirm to USS that you are eligible to remain in your existing arrangement.
You should ensure the election is made before the date of your promotion.
It is important to note that once made, such an election will remain in place for as long as you remain employed by your existing institution, you will not be able to change your mind and join USS instead in the future, even if you are subsequently promoted again.
Guide for Members
If you join USS, you will receive a copy of the appropriate Guide for members and a membership certificate to keep for your records. Copies of the guide can be found below:
Final Salary Section Guide for Members
Career Revalued Benefits Section for Members