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University of Bath

Joining 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

There is no application form for you to complete.

It is our responsibility to inform USS that you have joined the University and begun paying contributions.

To complete your membership we need to supply USS with details of other relevant information. We will send you an email asking you to supply or return the following information:

  • Verification of your date of birth - a photocopy of either your birth certificate or relevant page of your passport

All of the following forms can be completed online, printed, signed and then returned to the Pensions Office:

  • Transfer of deferred benefits request - if you have deferred benefits in another pension scheme and you wish USS to investigate a transfer on your behalf
  • Expression of wishes
  • Registration of potential dependent

USS scheme sections

The final salary section closed on 31 March 2016. All USS members will join the USS Retirement Income Builder.

If you are an active member of USS transferring from another university, it is important you inform us to ensure your continuous service details are processed correctly.

Ensure that your current home address are correct as when you leave our employment, USS will need to write to you with details of your pension service record. You can update your details on Employee Self Service.


The University operates a Salary Exchange scheme to process contributions to USS, this scheme is called PensionPlus and this is the description you will see on your payslip. 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.

In a few cases employees will not benefit from the National Insurance savings created by PensionPlus in these cases the University has put in place a procedure to automatically remove these employees from the scheme and therefore their USS contributions are made both by both the employee and the University.

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

If you do not wish to participate in PensionPlus, please complete the opt-out form and return it to the Pensions Office, Virgil Building, Room 4.12.

Transferring previous pensions to USS Retirement Builder

If you have deferred benefits in another pension scheme and you wish USS to investigate a transfer on your behalf please complete the transform request form and return it to the Pensions Office.

Do not assume the transfer has taken place until you have confirmation in writing from USS.

Although it is the your responsibility to monitor the progress of any transfer request, the Pensions Office will, at your request, be happy to liaise with the schemes on your behalf.

Transfers are normally completed within four to six months.

Increasing your benefits by paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you are currently paying into USS, you are able to improve your benefits by making extra contributions or by transferring benefits in to USS from other pension arrangements that you may have.

You can obtain detailed information on how to increase your benefits in the maximising your pension section of the USS website or for information on USS Money Purchase AVC's visit Prudential.

Opting out of the Retirement Income Builder

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.

If you decide later on that you do want to join the scheme please contact the Pensions Office.

Normal withdrawal

Upon receipt of your completed form, the Payroll Office will stop monthly deductions following the completion of the required 28 days notice period.

Retrospective withdrawal within the first three months

Upon receipt of your completed form the Payroll Office will stop deductions at the earliest opportunity. Any refund due will be made through the payroll.


Members who participated in PensionPlus and withdraw from USS with 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.

You may choose to accept deferred benefits in USS or you may transfer benefits to another pension scheme.