USS is now under attack

  • The employers want to end guaranteed pension benefits.
  • They say your final pension should depend on how your 'investments' perform and not on your contributions.
  • We say it's wrong to risk our members' futures.

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USS & TPS: key features

This section provides information on the key features of USS and TPS, the two main pension schemes for higher education staff in the UK.

Absence from service

Overview of how absence from service affects USS and TPS pensions.

Additional pension benefits

The Teachers' Pension Scheme allows members to pay in extra money to top up their pension.

Additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)

Increasing the value of your USS or TPS pension

Allocation of pension

Allocation is an arrangement, only available in USS, whereby part of a member's pension is given up in order to enhance the pension of a spouse or dependant following the member's death.


USS and TPS information on death in service, and death after retirement.

Divorce & eligible children

USS and TPS information on divorce and eligible children.

Ill-health & commutation

Members suffering from persistent ill-health are sometimes asked to reduce their work commitment (eg, moving from full-time to a part-time contract).

Moving jobs & transfer of pension

Pension rights from any previous employment can be transferred into or out of either scheme.

Nomination of beneficiaries

Members of USS are advised to inform USS Ltd of the names of relatives, civil partners or others who they would wish to receive any lump sum on their death (otherwise known as making an 'expression of wish'); this may be done through the employer.

Part-time staff & pensions

Under auto-enrolment members are automatically placed into a pension scheme.

Pension increases

Pensions are normally increased annually in April in line with the pensions increase orders announced by the government.

Pensionable salary

Pensionable earnings can include performance-related pay, profit-related pay, lump-sum payments made as part of the remuneration package, and certain payments in kind, such as warden accommodation in some institutions.

Re-employment of pensioners

TPS and USS information on the re-employment of pensioners.

Retirement benefits

A rundown of the retirement benefits of USS and TPS.

Retiring abroad

Payment of the TPS or USS pensions is not dependent on country of residence. In TP your pension can be paid direct into an overseas bank account in the majority of countries. In USS your pension needs to be paid into a UK bank.

Strike action and pensionable salary

Strike action affects the length of service for all employees and the final salary for those in their last year of service.

Pension calculation

Both USS and TPS allow members to obtain an estimate of their pension benefits online.