Staff at grades 6 to 10 and ALC6 belong to several different pension schemes, and specific advice needs to be taken on how each scheme’s rules apply (contact the Pensions Office). The current possibilities under USS, the principal pension scheme for academic-related staff, are:
Normal retirement: 65 is currently the ‘normal pension age’ for USS. From 65, all eligible USS members are entitled to take their pension benefits and retire from the University. But, if you do not wish to do so, you can continue working beyond your normal pension age and take your pension later. Please be aware that the normal pension age will rise in the future, broadly in line with increases to the State Pension age.
Early retirement: Staff may apply to retire before the normal pension age. This is commonly known as ‘early retirement’. The 55th birthday is generally the earliest age at which a member of USS may retire. Early retirement usually entails receiving a reduced pension – the benefits are actuarially reduced by an amount that depends on how long before normal pension age the pension is taken. However, a current USS member who was aged 55 or over on 1 October 2011 and who retires at or after the age of 60 will receive an unreduced pension.
Flexible retirement: USS offers a flexible retirement option to members aged 55 or over. This is where a member of staff continues to work, but takes a reduction in salary, for example by working reduced hours, in exchange for payment of a portion of their pension. This mix of work and pension can offer an attractive way of tapering towards eventual full retirement.
Ill health retirement: If a member of staff's health deteriorates so that they are permanently unable to do their job, and they are a member of a relevant pension scheme, they may be eligible to apply for an ill-health early retirement, and have their pension benefits may be paid early. Ill-health early retirement benefits may include a lump sum payment and/or a pension. Contact the Pensions Office to find out what ill-health early retirement benefits are available. For advice on managing ill-health, departments should contact their HR Business Partner.
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