The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is the main national pension scheme in the Higher Education Sector. At the University of Strathclyde it is open to all staff on Grades 6 or above, and to staff on Grades 1 to 5 who commenced employment with the University between 1 April 2003 and 31 December 2016.
Members of staff should refer to their contract of employment for confirmation of eligibility.
Prior to October 2011 there was a single Final Salary scheme for all USS members.
From 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2016, there were two sections of USS:
Final salary section - a defined benefit scheme based on a member’s final pensionable salary at date of leaving or retiring. This section applies to staff who joined the scheme prior to 1 October 2011 or where the member was permitted to rejoin subject to certain conditions. Please refer to the USS website for further information.
Career Revalued Benefits Section – a defined benefit scheme based on salary during each scheme year and added to any previous benefits built up in the scheme.
From 1 April 2016 USS changed for all existing and new members to provide a core defined benefit (DB) section alongside a defined contribution (DC) section introduced from 1 October 2016.
Please refer to the section below for more information on the scheme arrangements from 1 April 2016 onwards.
Pensions Plus is open to employees who are members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). It will allow members to benefit from savings in National Insurance Contributions (NIC) by changing the way pension contributions are paid.
USS – Opt out of Pension saving form (within 3 months)
USS - Withdrawal Form (more than 3 months)
USS Scheme Changes from 1 April 2016
Following an Employer Consultation undertaken during 2015, USS changed in two phases, from 1 April 2016 and 1 October 2016. The revised scheme provides a core defined benefit (DB) section alongside a defined contribution (DC) section.
Changes from 1 April 2016
From 1 April 2016, the core defined benefit provided by USS is on a career revalued benefits basis: that is, for each year of service you will earn a proportion of your salary as pension and a proportion as a cash lump sum which can be taken tax free on retirement (subject to certain restrictions).
Your benefits will be increased annually to provide some inflationary protection. These benefits are not affected by investment performance.
Between 1 April 2016 and 30 September 2016 this type of pension was earned on your full pensionable salary. After 1 October 2016, a salary threshold is applied as explained below.
The employee contribution rate increased to 8% of pensionable salary from 1 April 2016:
- from 7.5% for final salary members – an increase of 0.5%
- from 6.5% for current CRB members – an increase of 1.5%
Employer contribution rates increased by 2% from 16% to 18%.
Changes from 1 October 2016
From 1 October 2016 the scheme provides retirement benefits made up of both a defined benefit section and a defined contribution section.
- All members receive defined benefits on a career revalued benefits basis on salary up to £55,000 per year.
- If you earn more than £55,000, contributions in respect of your salary above £55,000 go into a defined contribution section of the scheme.
- All members, regardless of salary, have the option to make additional contributions into the defined contribution section. Your employer will match the first 1% of any additional contributions you choose to make. If you earn more than £55,000, these payments are in addition to the compulsory contributions you and your employer make in respect of salary above that threshold.
For further information please visit the USS website.
Benefits earned up to 31 March 2016
Benefits earned up to 31 March 2016 are protected in law and in the scheme rules. You will receive a statement of your benefits as at 31 March 2016:
- If you are a member of the CRB section, your statement will be issued in autumn 2016, as normal.
- If you are a member of the final salary section, your benefits earned up to 31 March 2016 will be calculated using pensionable service and pensionable salary as at that date. You will receive a statement confirming the value of benefits earned up to 31 March 2016 before the end of 2016.
Going forward, the benefits you have earned will receive annual increases to provide some inflationary protection.
If you have any questions regarding the changes, please contact USS Communications or, for specific matters related to your own pension arrangements, please contact the University of Strathclyde Pensions Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.