USS is a national pension scheme offered to LSE staff members on or above Salary Band 06. It is a large scheme with approximately 400 institutions as members.
About the scheme
USS has two sections within its scheme
A Final Salary Section for members before 1 October 2011. This means that your pension at retirement is based on the number of years of pensionable service and your best pensionable salary from the last thirteen years. This is usually your final year's salary. The accrual rate used for the pension calculation is 1/80th for every year at full time worked. This scheme is also known as a defined benefits scheme (DB).
A Career Revalued Benefits scheme section for new members from 1st October 2011. This means that for each year worked a credit of 1/80th of that year's salary will be calculated. At retirement each figure will be added together to form the retirement pension.
As membership is not compulsory, staff who choose not to join should consider carefully whether they are making the right decision, ideally they should seek independent financial advice as to what is the best option for them. To find out more information and for a calculation of benefits please visit USS.
The current USS contribution rate is 7.5% for members of the Final Salary Section and for members of the Career Revalued Benefits scheme (CRB) your contribution rate is 6.5%. The School pays USS an additional proportion of your pensionable salary as an employer contribution to the scheme. All USS member contributions attract tax relief via your pay. There are however limits to the maximum benefit you can build up in any one year and the maximum benefits you can draw at retirement and still enjoy beneficial tax treatment. Please click here to find out more about how the current limits operate. Details about mitigating a tax charge and managing a tax charge are also available.
Please contact the pensions office if you have any concerns in relation to this area or would like a quotation of your current tax position.
USS offer a number of publications and presentations for its members both Final Salary and CRB. Lump sum AVC payments can also be made at the end of each tax year or final pay. AVCs also attract tax relief.
You should consider if this route may cause you to exceed the yearly or annual sums that can be built up in a pension without further tax charges.
Additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)
A member can increase their retirement pension by paying additional voluntary contributions. The School does not pay any money towards this. There are two way to pay AVCs:
USS added years - the AVC contract will buy additional service in USS calculated in years and days. This service will increase your pensionable service at retirement. USS AVC contracts end the day before a member's 65th birthday.
Prudential Money Purchase - USS members can pay AVCs into the Prudential which has been set up for USS members to enhance their pension at retirement. There is no set end date for Prudential contributions.
Lump sum AVC payments can also be made at the end of each tax year or final pay, AVCs also attract tax relief.
A retirement pension for life. You can also take a tax-free cash payment at retirement. Your pension will be increased each year by the CPI to keep it in line with inflation.
Life cover from the first day of membership, which offers a payment of three times your pensionable salary should you die whilst in pensionable service. This money does not form part of your estate. Dependants pensions are also payable.
Ill-health retirement. A member who is unable to carry on working due to ill health can receive their USS pension earlier than retirement age.
USS will transfer to another UK university within USS.
If you leave the School and transfer to another USS institution your USS benefits will also transfer, provided it is within one calendar month.
If you are not transferring to another university your USS benefits will be deferred.
Please make sure you tell USS of any changes to your circumstances. The address to write to is:
Royal Liver Building
Main switchboard: 0151 227 4711
Please ensure you have either your member number or National Insurance number to hand when contacting USS.