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USS FAQs

Last updated Tuesday, 27 July 2021

1) Can I start to receive my pension immediately if my VS application is approved?

Yes, provided you are at least age 55 and have completed a minimum of 2 years’ pensionable service.

2) I am under age 55, what will happen to my pension if I take VS?

The benefits you have earned in USS will remain in the scheme until you apply to draw them, the earliest age is 55 years.  You can also consider transferring your benefits to another pension arrangement.

3) What benefits can I receive if I want to start receiving my pension immediately?

Your immediate pension and tax free cash sum will be calculated according to the rules of USS.  

If you are retiring before age 66, some of your pension may be reduced for early payment.

4) How are benefits reduced for early payment in USS?

This is complex and depends on when you last joined USS, whether or not you are an ‘exempt’ member (with a protected pension age) and your age when you start to receive your USS benefits. See Appendices 1 and 2.

5) Will the University increase my pension entitlement if I take VS?

Your USS benefits will be set up according to the scheme rules and the University will not enhance your benefits.  You can choose to use your VS payment to improve your benefits, please see questions 7 and 8 below.

6) Do I have to start receiving my pension if I meet the above criteria?

If you are under age 66 you do not have to start receiving your benefits immediately if you qualify for payment of your pension; if you decide not to draw your benefits on leaving the University, they will be deferred and revalued each year in line with the USS inflation measure (see Appendix 3) until retirement.

If you are age 66 or more on leaving the University, your USS benefits would be put into payment at that point, unless you were continuing your membership of USS by immediately taking up a position with an employer that offers USS to its employees.

7) How can I use my VS payment?

If you are a member of USS and drawing your pension immediately, it may be possible (within pensions tax allowances) for you to forego some or all of your VS payment, but not any payment in lieu of notice (PILON), and instead ask the University to pay this into USS to improve your benefits, either to secure guaranteed additional pension and lump sum in the Retirement Income Builder section, or into your USS Investment Builder fund.

8) Can I use my VS payment to increase my benefits if I am not immediately drawing my pension?

It may be possible (within pensions tax allowances) for you to forego some or all of your VS payment (but not any of your PILON) and pay this into your Investment Builder account or to provide additional benefits (based on retirement at age 66, reductions to be applied if benefits are drawn earlier) from the Retirement Income Builder section. 

9) Are increases paid on my benefits? 

Both deferred benefits and pensions in payment increase in line with the USS inflation measure. See Appendix 3.

10) Where can I find further information about my pension?

Please use the benefit illustrator on the USS website.

Calculate your benefits (uss.co.uk)

You will need your USS member number to use the benefit illustrator; this can be found on your Annual Member Statement.

If you are definitely considering taking retirement, you can obtain further information by contacting the Pensions Office at pensions@manchester.ac.uk.

A colleague will arrange for an illustration of your retirement benefits to be prepared as at your anticipated termination date.

Appendix 1

Early retirement in USS for employees who will draw their pension on retiring from employment with the University.

See USS Retiring from employment section on the website 

Thinking about your future (uss.co.uk)

1) If you joined USS before 1 October 2011

and you are an Exempt member (you were age 55 or more on 1 October 2011 and a member of USS on 30 September 2011)

Service period

Reduction for each year and part year before 

 

Male 

Female

Pre 17 May 1990

65

60

17 May 1990 – 31 March 1995

60

60

1 April 1995 – 30 September 2011

63.5

63.5

Post 30 September 2011

63.5

63.5

Your benefits are paid unreduced when retiring from age 60.

OR you are not an Exempt Member

Service period

Reduction for each year and part year before

 

Male 

Female

Pre 17 May 1990

65

60

17 May 1990 – 31 March 1995

60

60

1 April 1995 – 30 September 2011

63.5

63.5

1 October 2011 – 5 October 2020

65

65

From 6 October 2020

66

66

If you have completed 5 years’ pensionable service and are retiring from age 60 you can receive your pre 1 October 2011 benefits without reduction; your post 1 October 2011 benefits will be reduced.

2) If you joined USS after 1 October 2011

On retirement, all your Retirement Income Builder benefits earned up to 5 October 2020 will be reduced by c4% for each year and part year you retire before age 65; and benefits you have earned from 6 October 2020 will be reduced by c4% for each year and part year that you retire before age 66. 

Early retirement in USS for employees who will draw their pension on retiring from employment with the University.

See USS Retiring from employment section on the website 

Thinking about your future (uss.co.uk) 

Appendix 2

Early retirement in USS for employees who will not immediately draw their pension on retiring from employment with the University.

Your benefits are increased from your date of leaving USS until your date of retirement as described in Appendix 3 and then reduced according to the table below. 

Service period

Reduction for each year and part year before

 

Male 

Female

Pre 17 May 1990

65

60

17 May 1990 – 31 March 1995

60

60

1 April 1995 – 30 September 2011

63.5

63.5

1 October 2011 – 5 October 2020

65

65

From 6 October 2020

66

66

Appendix 3

USS annual inflation measure

 I'm retired (uss.co.uk)

 1) Benefits earned prior to 1 October 2011

Increase in line with official pensions which are currently linked to the Consumer Prices Index.

 2) Benefits earned after 1 October 2011

Increase in line with official pensions as above, subject to the following cap.

Annual increase in official pensions (currently CPI)

Increase payable by USS

5% or less

Increase matched

Between 5% and 15%

5% plus one half of the increase above 5%

More than 15%

Increase capped at 10%