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If you are considering retirement, you may be asking yourself the following questions:

  • When can I retire?

  • Can I afford to retire?

  • What is the retirement process?

  • How do I claim my University pension?

The information provided below will help answer the above questions.

Retirement Process Overview

If you are considering retiring in the near future, the HR Pensions Team would recommend that you obtain a retirement quotation for your proposed date of retirement.

We would recommend you request one at least 3-6 months in advance of the proposed retirement date.

This will allow you sufficient time to receive the quotation, speak to the HR Pensions Team about the retirement quotation and retirement process and also allow you time to seek independent financial advice about the options available to you.

Most importantly it will allow you time to consider whether you wish to proceed with retirement. If you do choose to proceed with retirement it will allow you time to complete and return the appropriate retirement forms, provide appropriate identification documents, notify the University you are retiring and provides the required time for the Scheme Administrators to set up your pension for your retirement date.

When can I retire?

Each pension scheme has a set of Rules which explain how the Scheme works but most importantly it will set out the Schemes Normal Retirement Age (NRA). Each Schemes NRA will be different but for the UPS DB and DC Sections it is age 65, whereas USS is age 66.

Under UK Legislation members of pension schemes can access their pension benefits from the Minimum Pension Age (MPA) which is currently age 55, but increasing to age 57 from April 2028. However, if you choose to retire and claim your pension scheme earlier than your NRA, pension schemes are permitted to reduce the pension benefits that members can receive because they are claiming them early.

If you are suffering from a medical condition/illness which is preventing you from working you may wish to speak to your HR Advisor about retirement on the grounds of ill health. Subject to Trustee and Employer consent, pension benefits may be claimed before the MPA..

How to request a retirement quotation?

If you are a member of USS or the UPS DB Section you can contact the HR Pensions Team via ASK HR or by emailing hr dot pensions at warwick dot ac dot uk and request a quotation by providing us with your current address and your proposed retirement date.

Please note USS are currently only able to provide retirement quotations 12 months in advance.

The HR Pensions Team will then request the retirement quotation from the Scheme Administrators for you and ask them to send this to your home address. You should usually receive your retirement quotation within 3 weeks of HR Pensions Team requesting it from the Scheme Administrator..

If you require a retirement quotation for USS or the UPS DB Section which may be further in the future, there are different modelling tools that are available to use online.

Alternatively, you can contact the Scheme Administrators direct for a quotation using the following details:

USS – USS (contact number 0151 556 0623)
UPS DB – Barnett Waddingham (contact number 0333 111 1222)
UPS DC – Scottish Widows (contact number 0800 028 9548 - scheme number N10615)
NHS – NHS Pensions (contact number 0300 330 1346)

Members of the UPS DC Section may find the DC Retirement Process useful.

Members of the NHS Pension Scheme can use the information contained in their Total Reward Statement to calculate retirement figures through the calculators on the NHS Pension website.

What does my retirement quotation mean?

On receipt of the retirement quotation you may require assistance in understanding what the statement you have been provided with actually means.

You can contact the HR Pensions Team and arrange an appointment over the phone, TEAMS or in person to discuss the quotation you have received and the different options available to you.

You may also wish to seek independent financial advice concerning the information you have been provided.

Please note the Pensions Team are not permitted to provide financial advice.

Some employees may wish to attend a pre-retirement seminar to see if they are ready for retirement.

At this point you will decide whether you wish to retire or continue working.

Member provides HR Pensions with completed forms and birth certificates

Where the member decides to retire they will have to complete the appropriate scheme retirement forms. These typically include a member decision form, bank details form, expression of wish form and lifetime allowance declaration form.

  • A member decision form tells the Scheme Administrator which option the member is taking. E.g. Full Pension or Maximum Cash Option
  • The Bank Details form tells the Scheme Administrator which bank or building society the cash sum and pension should be paid too.
  • An Expression of Wish form helps the Trustees know that if that member passes away, and if a lump sum death benefit is payable on their death who they would like to receive it. It is always recommended to review your expression of wish form every 3 years.
  • The Lifetime Allowance Declaration Form tells the Scheme Administrator whether the member has claimed any pension benefits already, or due to claim any at the same time as claiming this pension. This helps them to identify whether the member will be close to exceeding the Lifetime Allowance currently £1,073,100 (2022/23).

The member will also have to provide the HR Pensions Team with a copy of their passport or birth certificate to prove their identity and date of birth. Members who are married or in civil partnerships may wish to provide a copy of the appropriate certificate and their partners passport/birth certificate at the same time.

You may need to contact the HR Pensions Team to obtain these Notification of Retirement forms.

Member informs line manager of intention to retire (in line with T&C’s)

Members at the same time as completing their retirement paperwork will also have to notify their line manager of their intention to retire. Typically this is similar to when an employee resigns and they have to work their notice period.

Depending on your current roles and notice period you may wish to give longer than the required notice period.

In most cases employees who have chosen to retire and claim their pension benefits must leave employment.

Retirement Forms to Scheme Administrator

HR Pensions will provide the completed retirement forms and certificates to the Scheme Administrator with any employer forms that are required.

If these forms are provided to the Scheme Administrator between 6-8 weeks before the retirement date, your pension benefits should be set up for your retirement date.

The Scheme Administrators will contact members again around the date of retirement to confirm the settlement of the benefits.

Member reaches retirement date and retires

When a member reaches their retirement date, the Scheme Administrator will be setting in motion the final calculation of pension benefits which will enable them to pay the tax free cash lump sum and pension. The Scheme Administrators may need to know your final pay history, and due to payroll cut-offs the HR Pensions Team can only provide this information when the payroll has been run.

If you have paid Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) these will need to be disinvested by the Scheme Administrator. If you have continued to pay AVCs in your last payment, these will need to be paid across to the AVC provider before they are disinvested. Until the final AVC value is known, Scheme Administrators are unable to calculate your final benefits.

Normally members with AVC benefits can take longer to be settled that those members without them.

Usually the tax-free cash sum will be paid on or around the date of retirement (usually within 10 working days) where a member does not have AVCs.

The pension will normally be paid on the same day of each month, and depending on the Scheme Administrators payroll cut-offs the first pension instalment could be up to 2 months after the date of retirement. However, when you receive your actual first instalment this will include arrears backdated to the date of retirement.

Warwick Retired Staff Association

Once you have retired you may still wish to keep in contact with your former colleagues and therefore you may wish to consider joining the Warwick Retired Staff Association. Further details about this are located here.