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Six things to do in the New Year - checklist

Ensure you and your loved ones are making the most of your pension

Get the most from your retirement

The New Year gives us a good opportunity to take stock, reset and put new plans into action. One of the things you might think about doing is a mini pension audit, to make sure your money is still working for you and your lifestyle.

Here are six things you can do this New Year to ensure you and your loved ones are making the most of your pension, and one that might just be a bit of fun for you:

  1. Complete the Expression of Wish form*
    If you pass away in retirement, your loved ones may still be eligible to some of the benefits that you’ve built up. If you have any savings left in the Investment Builder, they could also be paid to them. That’s why it’s important to keep your beneficiaries and dependants up to date. Log in to My USS to complete the Expression of Wish form and Registration of potential dependant form. To find out more, visit our what happens when you die page and read our factsheet.

    *The Expression of Wish is used to nominate your intention for any lump sum payable on your death. If you have been retired for more than five years then there is no lump sum payable. You are therefore not able to submit an Expression of Wish form outside of this period.

  2. Be aware of your upcoming annual pension increase in April
    Before and after you retire, on 1 April each year, all of the Retirement Income Builder benefits you’ve built up (excluding any built up in the previous 12 months as there’s a natural time lag) are increased in line with official pensions, which broadly go up in line with the increases in official pensions, which are currently increased in line with Consumer Prices Index (CPI), subject to certain caps. This provides a level of inflation protection for your benefits. These inflationary increases are subject to certain caps, depending on when your benefits built up.
    Read our briefing on the application of the cap on standard pension increases to find out more.

  3. If you have Investment Builder savings, do they still work for you?
    If you still have Investment Builder savings, you’re not limited to taking them in just one way. You can mix and match your options depending on your needs at the time. You can take cash payments from your savings (known as UFPLS) as and when you need to. Or you could transfer your savings to another scheme that may also offer this and other options too, like flexi-access drawdown or you could buy an income for life, called an annuity. Find out more about this on our Investment Builder pot page. Log in or register for My USS to view and manage any savings in the Investment Builder.

  4. Trace your old pensions
    Tracking down all the different pension schemes you've paid into is important, so you can be sure you're claiming everything you're entitled to in retirement. Over time, pension schemes close, merge or are renamed. So even if you remember the name of your scheme, it could now be called something else. The government’s Pension Tracing Service is a free tool to help you find the contact details of any of your previous pension providers.

  5. Check to see if you’re eligible for pension credit
    The cost-of-living crisis is having an impact on everyone. With Pension Credit you could be eligible for help with your living costs. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges. It’s separate from your State Pension, and you could get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home. Find out more about pension credit and the additional support you could be entitled to.

  6. Ready for a new challenge?
    u3a is a UK-wide collection of 1000+ charities that open up learning opportunities to retired people – just for a bit of fun. Why not try it? You could develop new interests and learn new skills. With more than 1,000 local U3As across the UK, with more than 430,000 members, there’s something for everyone. You can join u3a by contacting one of their centres.

USS is not responsible for the content of the u3a website linked to above or for any links contained on that website.

Published: 24 January 2023

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