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Q. Who will decide if I am eligible for a pension cash supplement?

A supplement in lieu of pension will be paid to any employee who meets the eligibility criteria set out in the policy. The Head of Pensions will determine whether individual applicants meet those criteria.

Q. Where do I find out more information about the level of my USS pension?

Please visit the USS benefit modeller.

Each year USS will contact members who have exceeded the Annual Allowance in a given tax year by 6 October in the following tax year.

Members with USS money purchase AVCs may log into the USS member portal My USS to get their AVC fund value

Q. How will I know if I am going to exceed the Annual Allowance or the Lifetime Allowance?

You can see information provided by USS on your pension by logging on to the USS benefits modeller, including Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance information.

Q. Do I need the approval of my Head of Department or Institution to apply for a supplement in lieu of pension?

You do not need departmental approval. If you meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Policy, you can apply using the application form.

Q. When should I apply?

You can apply at any time; this is not restricted to tax or scheme years.  However you should take time in making any decision about your pension options and take the appropriate financial advice.  You need to give at least one month’s notice when applying for the pension cash supplement to allow time for the Pensions Office to check your eligibility and for the adjustment to salary to be processed.  USS needs at least 28 days’ notice of your intention to opt out, or to take the Enhance Opt Out.

Q. How has the level of the pension cash supplement been set?

The level of the cash alternative for members of USS (12%) was set in line with the pension contribution that the University would otherwise make in respect of future pension provision for a typical senior employee. It does not include any contributions that the University would make towards the deficit in USS.  It was set at a level so that those opting out would not gain any advantage when compared with others who remain members of a pension scheme. The level of cash alternative also recognises that the University contribution rate to the USS Investment Builder section is 12%. 

Should you be a member of another pension scheme, please contact the Pensions section for further information about how this scheme will apply to you. The level of the supplement is non-negotiable and in the case of USS, has been set in the expectation that most individuals who opt out will take advantage of Enhanced Opt Out (EOO).  There is no adjustment for those who do not opt for EOO. 

Please note that the University may at any time withdraw or amend the supplement. The arrangement is subject to periodic review and will be re-assessed when there is a change in the taxation of pensions, a change to the pension benefits or employer contribution rates.

Q. I work part time, how will this affect the pension cash supplement?

The supplement will be based on your part time salary.

Q. Does the cash supplement increase?

The cash supplement will remain static at 12% of relevant pensionable salary for members of USS or such level as the University decides for members of other pension arrangements. The value of the supplement will increase in line with increases in your pensionable salary.

Q. How will this pension cash supplement be disclosed in the University’s financial statements?

The University’s annual financial statements report the salaries of individuals earning £100,000 and above in £10,000 bands.  If a cash supplement is paid then this amount would be included in salary, with a note describing the adjustment.

Q. What should I consider before I opt out of pension saving?

There are consequences if you choose the cash supplement.  Some of the consequences are set out below:

  • Your pension at retirement (and any pension payable to your spouse or dependants on death) will be lower;
  • The pension cash allowance will be subject to income tax and NI deductions ;
  • For USS members only
    • without Enhanced Opt Out, death in service cover of three times annual salary is foregone;
    • without Enhanced Opt Out, there is a loss of ill-health benefits;
    • without Enhanced Opt out, you are not entitled to the USS late retirement uplift if you draw your pension after normal pension age;
    • the ability to draw part of your pension if you take flexible retirement option is lost.
    • If you choose Enhanced Opt Out it must remain in place for a minimum of 12 months after which you can cancel.

Q. If I opt to receive a pension cash supplement, can I change my mind and re-join the pension scheme?

If you opt out you may be able to re-join USS or the CPS.  If you opt out of NHS Pension Scheme or the MRC Pension Scheme you will not be able to re-join.

Further information regarding elections for Voluntary Salary Cap (VSC) is available on the USS website.

Further details on opting out of other pension schemes is provided in the Policy.

Q. I have opted out of pension provision and am over age 55 and I am continuing to work at the University. Can I draw my pension?

Under the rules of USS and the CPS you must leave employment to start to receive your pension.  If you were a member of the NHSPS or MRCPS you may be able to receive your pension whilst remaining in employment.