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Leavers’ hub

Find out what happens to your pension once you’ve left but haven’t retired

What you need to know

The benefits and savings you've built up in USS belong to you, and there are things you should keep an eye on.

  • Receive a guaranteed income for life
    in retirement with your
    Retirement Income Builder

  • You’re still entitled to a one-off tax-free
    cash lump sum

    when you reach retirement

  • A dependant’s pension
    could support your loved ones

What happens now you’ve left USS?

If you’ve been paying into your USS pension for less than two years, you may be able to get a refund of your contributions. Visit our getting a refund page to find out whether or not you’ll be entitled to this, and the benefits that’ll be affected.

You may also have the option to transfer your USS pension into another HMRC-registered scheme, like a personal pension or your new workplace pension scheme.

Before you transfer your USS benefits out, it’s worth considering what you’ll be transferring out and whether it’s right for you. You may need to take independent financial advice first. Visit transferring to another scheme to find out more.

You can also choose to keep your benefits within USS until your retirement date; this will happen unless you decide to transfer or take a refund (if eligible).

We’ll contact you a few months before all your benefits can be paid without any reduction for early payment. However, in the meantime you can use our Benefit Calculator in My USS to look at your retirement options based on different retirement ages, to decide what best suits your circumstances.

Our your pension after leaving page can provide you with more information about what happens to your benefits and savings with USS once you’re no longer paying in.

Take a look through the sections below to help you get to grips with everything:

  • Retirement checklist for leavers

    It can be daunting, but our retirement checklist may help you understand how to prepare for your future.

  • Keep us informed

    Make sure all of your personal details are up to date in My USS so we can contact you about your benefits and savings, and write to you when they’re ready for payment.

    We may need to send you information from time to time about your benefits and savings. We intend to do this electronically, so we need your personal email address so we can contact you.

  • Your benefits and savings could support your loved ones

    It’s important to let us know who you’d like to receive your USS benefits and savings when you die. Even if you’ve stopped paying in to USS, your loved ones could be eligible for benefits.

    Update your Expression of Wish and Registration of potential dependant details every three years.

  • Manage any Investment Builder savings

    If you have Investment Builder savings, log in to My USS to view them.

    You can update your Target Retirement Age (TRA) too. This is particularly important if you’re over the age of 50 and in later working life. If we’re managing your investments for you with the Do It For Me Option, it lets us know when to move your investments to lower risk funds as you get closer to taking them. If you’re managing your investments with the Let Me Do It Option, it tells us when we need to get in touch with you about your options.

  • Your pension after leaving

    There are different ways you can take your pension, depending on how long you’ve been paying in to USS for.

    Read all about everything you need to know about your benefits and savings after leaving.

  • How your pension works

    Did you know that there are two parts to your pension that work together?

    Learn more about the Retirement Income Builder (defined benefit) and the Investment Builder (defined contribution).

  • Got a question?

    Take a look at our FAQs on leaving USS.

Useful for you

  • Bust the pensions jargon

    Planning for your future’s tough enough without industry phrases getting in the way. Check out some of the most common.
  • Guidance throughout your journey to retirement

    Sign up to attend a free live webinar or catch up on a recorded event. You can find out about everything from leaving USS, understanding DC savings like those you might have built up in the Investment Builder, planning for retirement and more.