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Transferring to another scheme

Find out about transferring your pension elsewhere

Can I transfer my pension?

You may be able to transfer your pension to any HMRC-registered scheme (if your new scheme allows it). So that could be:

  • your new employer's pension scheme, or
  • a personal pension.

What can I transfer?

What you can transfer will depend on whether you’re still contributing, or you’re retired.

What kind of member are you? Retirement Income Builder only (the defined benefit part) Investment Builder only (the defined contribution part) Both
I'm still contributing
I've stopped contributing and haven't reached the Normal Pension Age
I'm retired
Yes - but only savings that are still invested.

Visit your pension explained to understand the two parts of USS and see which part you're in. You can view your Retirement Income Builder benefits and any Investment Builder savings, if you have these, in My USS.

When can I transfer?

When did you leave? Retirement Income Builder only Investment Builder only
On or after 1 Oct 2020 Any time before NPA Any time (even if you’re still paying in)
On or before 30 Sept 2020 Any time until age 65 Any time (even if you’re still paying in)
Before 1 Oct 2011 and had a Contractual Pension Age (CPA) of 60 Any time until age 60 Any time (even if you’re still paying in)

Is transferring out right for me?

Before you transfer out, it’s worth considering what you’ll be transferring out and whether it’s right for you. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

What are my other options?

There may be other things you can do rather than transfer your benefits and savings out:

  • If you have two or more years’ service, or you have less than two years’ service and leave on or after 1 April 2022 did you know you can start taking your benefits and any savings from age 55? (rising to 57 in 2028). Take a look at your options at different ages and stages for more information.
  • If you have Investment Builder savings, you could start taking these before or after you take your guaranteed income from the Retirement Income Builder. Or you could look to transfer them on their own and leave your Retirement Income Builder benefits with us. This means you won’t lose the defined benefits you’ve built up.
  • Take a look at your pension after leaving to see what’ll happen if you leave your benefits and savings with us instead.

How do I make a transfer?

All you need to do is complete and return the Transfer out option form.

Once we receive the form, we’ll aim to send you all the information you need within three weeks. If you’ve changed your mind about the transfer, simply ignore the information.

The information we send you will include the transfer value for:

  • The Retirement Income Builder (from the date it was calculated)
  • The Investment Builder if requested (this will be your pot value and you can see this for yourself in My USS too).

Your Retirement Income Builder transfer value will stay the same for a guarantee period of three months. So it’s important that you send us any necessary information within this guarantee period. Your Investment Builder transfer value will be whatever your savings are worth when you actually transfer, so the value could go up or down.

In any 12-month period, you get one free transfer quote for the Retirement Income Builder and/or the Investment Builder – or one free combined quote. You’ll be charged for any extra quotes (there are more details about this on the Transfer out option form).

How long does the process take?

The process to transfer out can take 15 weeks or more depending on a number of things, like how responsive your new pension provider is once they have your forms. See our transfer out timeline for more information.

For transfer requests received after 30 November 2021, we are required by law to check that the transfer out application satisfies requirements set out in new legislation. For certain transfers out of USS we must obtain further information/evidence from you before we are able to proceed with a transfer request, and in other cases we may request further information/evidence from you before we are able to proceed with a transfer request. This could add to the processing time that is in place to help protect you from pension scams. For further information regarding the new requirements please refer to Dealing with transfer requests on The Pensions Regulator website.

Get some advice first

By law, if you're transferring £30,000 or more worth of defined benefits (like the Retirement Income Builder) to a defined contribution scheme (check with the receiving scheme if you’re unsure), you'll need to get independent financial advice first. We're unable to give you financial advice.

The law requires you to get independent financial advice from a Financial Conduct Authority adviser. You can find information on how to access an independent financial adviser and a range of other resources on the guidance and advice page.

You should consider whether a transfer out from USS is in your best interests. You may want to take financial advice, if you’re not sure.

You can find information on how to access an independent financial adviser and a range of other resources on the guidance and financial advice page.

Stay a step ahead of scammers

The Pensions Regulator logo

Scammers target millions of people each year, especially those that are making changes to their pensions. If you’re a victim of a pension scam, you could lose your life savings and receive tax charges.

For information on how to spot a scam and stay one step ahead, visit The Pensions Regulator's website or take a look at ScamSmart.

Further reading

Here are a couple of useful links from MoneyHelper for more information:

You can also read the FCA's information on considering a pension transfer from a defined benefit scheme.

For important information on this guidance please see our key names and important information page.

Got a question?

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