Pension Cash Supplement Q&As

Eligibility

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

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

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

You should log onto USS benefit modeller to see the estimated value of pre-April 2016 benefits, including Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance.

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.

As part of the benefit changes in USS, USS  issued final salary members a statement of their benefits showing the annual pension amount in USS as at 31 March 2016, from which the LTA value can be calculated.

The value of your USS Investment Builder fund is shown on My USS.

Members with Prudential AVCs may log onto Prudential online site to get their AVC fund value. 

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 illustrator, including Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance information.

The application process

Do I need the approval of my Head of Department to apply to receive the pension cash supplement?

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

Do I need to apply before 1 April 2016?

No.  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 for Enhanced Opt Out. 

The supplement

I also have a college post.  Will this apply to my college earnings?

The pension cash supplement is a University arrangement and applies only to your University salary.  To be eligible for Enhanced Opt Out you must opt out of all benefit accrual in USS, including both University and college.

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

The level of the cash alternative (12%) was set in line with the value of pension saving provided by the University in USS for a typical senior employee.  It was set at a level so that those opting out would not gain any advantage in terms of pension saving when compared with others who remain members of a pension scheme.  The University contribution to the USS Investment Builder section is 12%.  The level of the supplement is non-negotiable and has been set in the expectation that most individuals who opt out of USS will take advantage of Enhanced Opt Out.  There is no adjustment for those who do not opt for EOO. 

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

The supplement will be based on your part time salary. Does the cash supplement increase?

The cash supplement will remain static at 12% of relevant pensionable salary. The value of the 12% supplement will increase in line with increases in your pensionable salary.

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.

Other

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 so is not the full 12% of salary;
  • 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 I opt to receive a pension cash supplement, can I change my mind and re-join USS?

If you opt out you may be able to re-join USS.  If you opt out of NHS Pension Scheme you will not be able to re-join NHS Pension Scheme, but you may be eligible to join USS.

If you choose Enhanced Opt Out it must remain in place for a minimum of 12 months after which you can cancel.

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

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

This is not allowed under USS rules.  You must leave employment to take your pension.