Site map

Retirement Income Builder

Find out everything you need to know about where you’re building your pension

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.

Each year you’ll pay in 9.6% of your annual salary and your employer will put in 21.1%. From this, you’ll get a pension of 1/75 of your salary (up to the salary threshold), plus a one-off cash lump sum of three times your pension. What you build up will also go up in line with USS standard pension increases.

To get an idea of what this actually looks like, see what you'll pay. You'll also be able to see information about what happens if your employer offers salary sacrifice too.

What will you be getting?

  • Tax relief on your contributions
  • A guaranteed income for life once you retire
  • A one-off cash lump sum (which is tax-free up to a certain limit) of three times your pension
  • Ill health benefits if you have to stop working because of a long-term sickness
  • Life cover while you’re paying in to USS and a pension for your spouse/dependants when you die

Topping up your pension

If you want to save a little more, you can make additional contributions to the Investment Builder. You’ll already save in here if you earn over the salary threshold – and even if you don’t, you’re in control so you can decide to top up.

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 so they last for longer.

If you’re still building your pension with us, 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 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.

And if you have savings in the Investment Builder too, you can take some or all of these as a cash lump sum or extra pension too.

But 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 Conversion Tool.

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

Got a question?

Cookie policy

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website.See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.