Accessing your pension benefits

Following a change in the law on retirement in April 2011, employees no longer have an expected contractual retirement date.  This means that, unless their employment is lawfully terminated by the University for some other reason in the meantime, individuals will continue working indefinitely until such time as they decide that they wish to stop working and give notice of their intention to leave the University.

Occupational pension schemes still calculate benefits on the basis of a normal retirement age, and subject to the rules of the relevant scheme, individuals may choose to stop working and access their accrued pension benefits on, before or after that date. (See below for further details).  

Occupational Pensions Schemes

The University currently operates four occupational pension schemes, each of which has different rules and eligibility arrangements regarding retirement.

Staff who are considering leaving in order to access their pension benefits should contact the Pensions Team ( enquire about eligibility for retirement and to obtain an estimate of the benefits they may be eligible to receive if they were to leave on a given date. If, having determined eligibility to retire and having obtained an estimate, an employee decides that they would like to proceed, they should refer to the University’s guidance on Leaving the UniversityWhere an employee decides to leave the University in order to then access pension benefits, it is assumed that at the time in which they give their notice of retirement, there is no intention for the employee to return to a post within the University.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) also offers a provision which enables eligible members to take “flexible retirement”, subject to their employer’s consent. This allows members to take a proportion of their pension benefits while continuing in employment at reduced hours and salary and continuing to build up pension benefits in preparation for retirement.  For further information, please refer to the University's guidance on USS Flexible Retirement Requests.  

More information around the University’s pension schemes can be found on the Pensions webpage.

State Pension

The State Pension age is not a “retirement age” and individuals can carry on working past their State Pension age while claiming their State Pension if they wish to do so.  For more information please refer to the government’s State Pension website.