I’m no longer paying into USS

What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean to my pension?

We’d like to reassure you that:

  • Benefits built up in the Retirement Income Builder are protected by law and by the strength of the employers of the higher education sector in the UK
  • We’re actively monitoring the performance of our investments
  • We’re fully operational and are prioritising key activity

Will the COVID-19 outbreak affect my pension?

Your contributions and Retirement Income Builder benefits are not expected to be impacted by COVID-19. If you have Investment Builder savings, you may see some fluctuations in your investment performance due to stock market volatility, but we are monitoring this.

If USS has to close due to COVID-19, will my pension still be paid?

Yes. Even if we have to close the office your pension payments will still be made. We have technology in place, so our teams will still be able to deal with business-critical processes.

In line with government advice and because the wellbeing of our employees is a priority for us, wherever possible, our employees have been working from home from Tuesday 17 March 2020. We have also introduced staggered work schedules, social distancing and additional safety and cleaning steps to protect those employees that do need to work from office locations.

Will COVID-19 affect my Retirement Income Builder pension?

The stock market fluctuations have impacted the funding level of the scheme, but this does not affect our ability to pay the pensions promised to members.

Will my investments in the Investment Builder be impacted as a result of COVID-19?

The stock market has been disrupted as a result of investors trying to price the potential impact of COVID-19 on the global economy. You will have seen an immediate impact on unit prices used to value your funds. We continue to monitor the funds.

We offer a range of funds in the Investment Builder, with the USS Lifestyle Options providing a lower risk profile as you approach your Target Retirement Age and therefore being less subject to market volatility. You can find fund information and further information on the Investment Builder, including how to view or change your Target Retirement Age on My USS.

If you are close to your Target Retirement Age, and your savings are invested in one of the Investment Builder Lifestyle Options, they will have been switched to more cautious funds to help protect them from the volatility of market fluctuations. The switching into more cautious funds does not remove the impact of market fluctuations, but it does help to reduce impact of any extreme market movements.

If you are about to retire and wish to take your Investment Builder funds as part of your retirement benefits, disinvestment of the funds will be fulfilled by our staff (working remotely if required). We have arrangements in place to ensure that contributions to the Investment Builder will continue to be invested with the same frequency as now.

If you want to consider seeking financial advice to see what’s best for you, you can use the Money Advice Service’s adviser directory to find a financial adviser (you may be charged a fee for any advice you receive).

Can I change my Investment Builder investment strategy?

You can make changes to your Investment Builder funds at any time in My USS. If you’re not sure about what’s best for you, we recommend that you speak to a financial adviser before making any decisions.

Information about our funds can be found in the Guide to investing in the Investment Builder

What can USS do for my loved ones?

USS could provide valuable benefits to your family or other dependants, when you die: your spouse or civil partner could receive a dependant’s pension for life and any eligible children may also receive an income. If you want to register a dependant, simply complete and return the Registration of Potential Dependant form.

You can find out more about life cover in the Bereavement benefits for death in retirement or deferment factsheet in the resources section of the website, where you’ll also find the Registration of Potential Dependant form. At the moment, due to social distancing advice, you don’t need someone to witness your signature on the form, but we may contact you in the future to arrange for this.

Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, these answers are subject to change and may be updated as appropriate when more information becomes available. Information provided in this content is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. This publication is for general guidance only. It is not a legal document and does not explain all situations or eventualities and should not be relied upon by you. It is not intended to be and should not be construed as advice.

Published 29/04/2020