Find out if and how you can get a refund of what you've paid in
Before deciding to leave and choosing a refund, make sure you’re aware of the benefits you’ll miss out on. Visit what you’ll get as a member to find out more.
Let's start with when a refund won't be possible
There are a few instances where you won't be able to get a refund:
You've been building your pension with us for over two years
All your contributions were made with salary sacrifice (please check this with your employer)
You transferred benefits to us from a personal pension
You retired but then started working for another USS employer
You're over the Normal Pension Age (NPA) – you'll need to start taking your pension right away.
If you don't take a refund, you can still take your pension and one-off cash lump sum when you reach your NPA (and in some cases, before your NPA). See your pension after leaving for more information. Or you may be able to transfer what you've built up to another pension.
Here's when a refund may be possible
If you've been paying in to your pension with us for less than two years, here are examples of when you may be able to get a refund on your contributions. Just so you know, you won't be able to get a refund on your employer's contributions.
Your leaver statement will include details of any refunds you can get. If you're entitled to one, you'll be able to take it up until the Normal Pension Age (NPA).
As long as you’ve only been building your pension with us for less than three months, simply let your employer know you want to stop paying in. They’ll then refund you the amount you’ve paid in.
We’ll refund what you’ve paid in to the Retirement Income Builder. This won’t include any contributions made by your employer under salary sacrifice
If you have savings in the Investment Builder, we’ll refund you the part of your Investment Builder pot that’s built up from your contributions (but not those paid by salary sacrifice or those paid by your employer). This may be different to what you paid in if your investments have gone up or down.
You would have received tax relief when you paid in. So we’ll take off 20% (or 50% if your refund’s over £20,000, as you fall into the higher tax bracket) from your refund and pay this to HMRC.
Remember if you decide to get a refund, you won’t keep your benefits with us. And if you die once you’ve taken your refund, your loved ones won’t receive any benefits either.
If all your contributions were made via salary sacrifice, you won’t be able to get a refund.
But if some were made with salary sacrifice and you made some contributions yourself, you’ll be able to get yours back. Your refund won’t include the salary sacrifice amount or your employer’s contributions.