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While working with us, you will have built up an amount of pension which which would usually be paid to you monthly after you retire - see How your pension works below. There is, however, an alternative option. You could choose to transfer the value of your benefits (known as your 'transfer value') out of UMSS to another pension arrangement, which would allow you to access your benefits in different ways.

Normal Retirement Age

Your Normal Retirement Age (NRA) is the age that you’ll normally take your pension from UMSS. Like with many other pension schemes, NRA in UMSS is linked to the State Pension Age (SPA).

From 1 November 2020, the NRA for any benefits you build up is now age 66. Any benefits you built up before then keep their NRA of 65.

You can take your benefits any time after age 55.

If you take your benefits at age 65, any that you built up from 1 November 2020 will be reduced for early payment. If you take your benefits at age 66, any that you built up before 31 October 2020 will be increased for late payment. Any benefits you have earned before 2012 still have an NRA of age 60 so this part of your pension will therefore be reduced only if you take your pension earlier than age 60.

Before April 2012:
NRA in UMSS was age 60
Applies to pension built up before April 2012
Reduces for early payment if taken before age 60
From April 2012 until 1 November 2020:
NRA in UMSS was age 65
Applies to pension built up from 2012 to 1 November 2020
Reduces for early payment if taken before age 65
From 1 November 2020:
NRA in UMSS is now age 66
Applies to pension built up from 1 November 2020
Reduces for early payment if taken before age 66
From 2028:
NRA in UMSS is age 67
Applies to pension you may build up after 2028
Reduces for early payment if taken before age 67

State Pension Age will be increasing again in 2028 to 67. To remain in line with SPA, and other schemes, NRA in UMSS will also increase to 67 in 2028 for benefits built up after that date.

1

Regular pension

You'd receive monthly payments from UMSS.

2

Transfer out of UMSS to another pension arrangement

Depending on the arrangement you choose, you may be able to:

  • take all your benefits as cash
  • enter into a drawdown arrangement where your money stays invested and you take money out as and when you need it
  • use the value of your benefits to buy an annuity (a regular pension for life).

You are legally required to get financial advice before transferring out of any scheme if the best estimate of your transfer value is £30,000 or more. Visit Unbiased to find an independent financial adviser in your area.

Setting your retirement date

You can take your pension at NRA without reduction but you can choose to take it earlier than this if you’re over 55. This is known as early retirement.

Remember, your NRA is the age that you’ll normally take your pension from UMSS. This is age 65 for any benefits you built up before 1 November 2020, and age 66 for benefits built up from 1 November 2020.

Any benefits earned before 2012 retain an NRA of age 60.

How your pension works

Your pension is calculated each year and part year you are a contributing member, which means you build up an amount of pension based on your Pensionable Salary for that period.

Any benefits you have built up previously in the Final Salary or CARE 1/80th section are increased each year in line with inflation (up to 5%) and added to your pension built up in the CARE 1/100th section.

You will receive a lump sum of three times your annual pension when you retire, but you can choose to take a smaller or no lump sum and receive a higher pension, or take a larger lump sum and receive a lower pension.

Your pension payment will increase once a year in line with inflation. See Annual increases to your pension in the Retired section for more information.

Taking early retirement

You can take your pension earlier than NRA, but please note your pension will be reduced if you take early retirement because we expect to pay it to you for longer. By law, the earliest you can take your pension is age 55, and to take your UMSS pension you must have contributed to UMSS for at least five years. If you wish to retire before age 60 you must have the University’s consent and, if you wish to retire between age 60 and 66 you must have the Trustee's consent.

Please note, the early retirement age is expected to move to age 57 in 2028, in line with the increase in SPA to age 67.

Taking flexible retirement

If you are able to continue working in a different capacity and in accordance with the University’s Flexible Working Policy, you can take some of your pension at the same time. This is known as flexible retirement. You must be at least age 55 and have the consent of both the University and the Trustee.

The University’s Flexible Working Policy is available on StaffNet.

Working after retirement

If you wish, you can work elsewhere and still receive your full UMSS pension. However, if you want to carry on working here, you will need to fulfil the University’s conditions for flexible working. See Taking flexible retirement above.

Taking ill-health retirement

If you are contributing to UMSS and you are permanently unable to work, you may be eligible for ill-health retirement. You must have contributed to UMSS for at least five years. The Trustee must also receive medical evidence from an appointed medical adviser that you are permanently unable to do either your own job or a similar job. The appointed medical adviser is usually from the University’s Occupational Health Service.

How do I plan my retirement?

There’s a lot to consider when you start planning your retirement. It’s not just about the standard of living you’re aiming for once you stop working, you’ll also want to consider what will happen to your finances generally, what tax allowances apply to your pension, what to do if you need to write or update a will, and how to manage any investments you might have.

Don’t forget to include any other pensions you might have, including the State Pension.

You might also find these websites useful:

Find out when you can start claiming your State Pension?

Find out how you can trace any other pensions you’ve paid into.

Get help planning your retirement

The University offers a one-day pre-retirement course that will help you plan for life after work. To get the most from the course, we recommend you attend any time after you reach 55 but no later than two years to 18 months before you plan to retire.

Find out more about the course and how to book your place by visiting StaffNet.

Messages from employees who have recently attended the course:

I am in the early stages of planning for retirement. I have until now considered it a rather daunting prospect – the end of a big part of my life and a substantial income reduction. The course has made me change focus somewhat and start to see retirement as a new beginning – an opportunity to explore a huge variety of new ventures with time for family, hobbies and interests. I left the course feeling positive about the future and keen to plan effectively to make my retirement, when I decide to take it, a successful one.

Worth attending several years before considering retirement.

The course succeeded in highlighting aspects of retirement that although aware of, I had previously not given significant thought to.