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Retirement Income Builder

Find out everything you need to know about the defined benefit  (DB) part of USS

Did you know, with the Retirement Income Builder you'll get...

  • A guaranteed income for life
    in retirement

  • Tax relief on your contributions
    when you're paying in

  • Ill health benefits and life cover
    to help support you and your loved ones

  • A one-off cash lump sum
    of three times your pension when you retire

Every member builds their pension benefits here

When you and your employer start contributing to USS, you automatically begin to build a pension in the Retirement Income Builder - the defined benefit part.

Each year you’ll pay in 6.1% of your annual salary, up to the salary threshold, and your employer will put in 14.5%.

From this, you’ll get a pension of 1/75 of your salary (up to the salary threshold), plus a one-off, tax-free (up to a certain limit) cash lump sum of three times your pension. What you build up will also go up in line with USS standard pension increases.

If you earn above the salary threshold, you’ll also build up a savings pot in the Investment Builder – the defined contribution part of USS – which you’ll be able to flexibly access.

Both parts work together as a hybrid pension. Visit what your pension might look like to get an idea of what this could mean for you. You’ll also be able to see information about what happens if your employer offers salary sacrifice.

A quick look at how the Retirement Income Builder works

How soon can you start taking your pension?

You can start accessing your Retirement Income Builder benefits in full from the Normal Pension Age (NPA). You can take them earlier than this but your benefits will be reduced as they’ll be paid out for longer.

You may wish to fully retire, or flexibly retire by taking a percentage of your benefits and continuing to work and make contributions. Find out more about your options.

You’ll need to speak to your employer about retiring first.

Making your pension right for you

Once you retire, you’ll get an income for life and a one-off, tax-free (up to a certain limit) cash lump sum of three times your pension. You can choose to have a higher monthly income and a lower cash lump sum – or vice versa. It’s up to you.

There’s a limit on the amount of benefits that can be taken as tax-free cash. We’ll tell you this limit when we send you your retirement quote. To see how taking more or less tax-free cash might affect you, use our Benefit Calculator in My USS.

If you have Investment Builder savings too, these can be used alongside your retirement income in a way that suits you. Or you could take them before or after you retire.

To find out more about what to do when you're ready to take your benefits and/or savings, see taking your benefits and savings.

Got a question?