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Being a member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme

How to join the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), transfer a previous pension to USS Retirement Builder, or opt-out of the pension scheme.

How to join

Eligible staff are automatically enrolled into USS

You will receive an email and membership certificate shortly after you join the scheme

View information for new joiners on the USS website for all information regarding the scheme.

Managing your USS pension

When you have received your membership certificate you will be able to Register with My USS to get access to your person pension information and:

  • View your current valuation
  • Elect to pay Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) to increase your pension benefits
  • Manage your investments
  • View your employment details with USS
  • View previous annual benefit statements
  • Nominate beneficiaries in the event of your death
  • Request a transfer from your previous pension into USS

Contact USS if you have any queries accessing the online pension portal

Please ensure you home address is always up to date on the University’s Employee Self Service portal as this is where USS will write to you. You will also receive monthly newsletters from USS.

Salary Sacrifice

The University operates a Salary Exchange scheme to process contributions to USS, this scheme is called PensionPlus. PensionPlus was introduced in January 2008 and USS contributions for employees are automatically processed using it.

In a salary exchange scheme an employee agrees to a reduction or 'exchange' of part of their salary, in this case the reduction is equivalent to the standard employee USS pension contribution. In return, the university increases its USS contributions to cover both the employee and employer contributions. This reduces the employee’s salary for National Insurance (NI) contributions and therefore the amount of NI contributions are reduced for both the employee and the university.

For the University this represents a significant saving, whilst the employee benefits from an increase in their take home pay. New employees will receive a copy of the PensionPlus booklet which explains in detail how PensionPlus works. In it you will find some of the common questions that employees asked when this arrangement was put in place. There are also examples of how PensionPlus affects your take-home pay compared with the option to make USS contributions without participating in the scheme.

Pension Plus is shown on your payslip as USS 2016 Pension under payments, and USS 2016 salary sacrifice under deductions.

Members who participated in PensionPlus and withdraw from USS within three months or more service will not be entitled to a refund instead they will have the option of deferred benefits in USS or they may transfer benefits to another pension scheme.

Members who did not participate in PensionPlus and withdraw within two years of joining USS may receive a refund of contributions, (provided they have not transferred in any previous scheme membership) less deductions for tax and National Insurance adjustments directly from USS Ltd.

If you do not wish to participate in PensionPlus, please complete the opt-out form and return it to Pensions.

Opting out of the pension scheme

If you want to opt-out of the pension scheme you will need to complete an opt-out of pension saving form and return it to the Pension office, this will prevent future deductions being made.

Please contact the Pensions office.


If you have any questions, please contact us.