You can start taking your Retirement Income Builder benefits and Investment Builder savings from age 55 onwards (rising to 57 in 2028 for certain members) – but your benefits in the Retirement Income Builder may be reduced to make up for them being paid out for longer (as you'll be taking them before the Normal Pension Age).
Once you retire, you’ll get:
- a regular income for life based on what you’ve built up in the Retirement Income Builder (defined benefit)
- a one-off, tax-free (up to a HMRC limit) cash lump sum of three times your pension amount
- a flexible way to use your Investment Builder (defined contribution) savings based on your needs.. You can:
- take cash payments from us (known as UFPLS)
- use your pot to provide a flexible retirement income, known as flexi-access drawdown, to top up your income from the Retirement Income Builder
- use your pot to buy a guaranteed come for life, known as an annuity, to top up your income from the Retirement Income Builder.
With your Retirement Income Builder benefits, you can choose to have a higher monthly income and a lower cash lump sum – or vice versa. But there’s a HMRC limit on the amount of benefits you can take as tax-free cash. We’ll tell you this 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.
Take a look at our using your Investment Builder pot for more on your Investment Builder options and how they can work alongside your Retirement Income Builder benefits when you take them.
How to kick things off:
- Build in some thinking time before you tell your employer your retirement plans, so you can consider your options. Our timeline to retirement can help give you an idea of the things to think about if you’re looking to retire.
- Speak to your employer to agree your retirement with them first. They’ll be able to help get things started and will request a retirement quote from us
- If you’re no longer paying in, please call our Member Service Team on 0333 300 1043.
It’s important to think carefully about your circumstances before making a decision.
Need some advice or guidance?
Sign up for a free Planning for Retirement webinar to learn more about your options with your USS benefits.
Subject to certain exemptions, if you apply to access or transfer your Investment Builder and/or MPAVC savings, or if you contact us about an application, we’re required by law to direct you to Pension Wise guidance. This is called the ‘Stronger Nudge’ and it’s the law for schemes like USS, that provide a defined contribution part to members.
Pension Wise is a government service from MoneyHelper that offers free, impartial pensions guidance about your defined contribution options.
We can’t proceed with your application, until you tell us that you’ve either received Pension Wise guidance or have opted out of receiving it by providing an opt out notification to us.
For more information and instructions on what to do next, see the Stronger Nudge notice.
There’s plenty of information and tools available on MoneyHelper. MoneyHelper brings three legacy consumer brands into one (Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise).
MoneyHelper is there to make your money and pension choices clearer. They offer impartial guidance that's backed by the government and free to use. MoneyHelper is available at moneyhelper.org.uk.
Guidance and advice
If you want to seek guidance or take financial advice on the options available to you, visit the guidance and financial advice page. You’ll find a range of resources to support your planning and you can also find information on how to access an independent financial adviser.