skip to content

Pensions

 

On this page you can find the answers to frequently asked questions.

The questions have been grouped into the following topics-

Definitions, Annual Statements, Contributions, Absence, Updating your details, Leaving the scheme, Death benefits, Retirement, Pensions in payment, Transfers, Financial Advice

Please click on the questions below to expand and view the answers-

 

Q. Definitions - What is the CUACPS?

The CUACPS is the Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme.  The CUACPS was established by the University of Cambridge in 1923 to provide retirement benefits for Assistant Staff employed by the University and to provide benefits for certain staff employed by employers associated with the University.

Q. Definitions - What is the CUADCPS?

The CUADCPS is the Cambridge University Assistants’ Defined Contribution Pension Scheme.  It is run by SEI to provide retirement benefits for Assistant Staff employed by the University and to provide benefits for certain staff employed by employers associated with the University.

Q. Definitions - What is a Hybrid member?

Employees who joined the CUACPS on or after 1 January 2013 are members of the University’s hybrid pension arrangement.  This comprises of two separate pension schemes, the CUACPS and the CUADCPS.  More information about the schemes is available from the Hybrid guide and the scheme factsheets which are available here.

Q. Definitions - What is a CRB member?

Employees who joined the CUACPS before 1 January 2013 are members of the CRB section of the scheme for their membership of the scheme on and after 1 January 2013.  More information is available from the CRB guide and scheme factsheets which are available here.

Q. Definitions - What is a Final Salary Member?

If you were a member of the CUACPS before 1 January 2013 you would have been a member of the final salary section of the scheme for your membership of the scheme before 1 January 2013. More information is available from the CRB guide and scheme factsheets which are available here.

Q. Definitions - Who are SEI?

SEI are an investment company who provide the CUADCPS.

Q. Definitions - What is a Defined Contribution (DC) pension scheme?

A DC pension scheme provides retirement benefits based on the size of your fund in the scheme.  The value of the fund depends on the contributions which have been paid into the fund, the investment performance of the fund and any charges which are deducted from the fund.

Q. Definitions - What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals in the European Union European Economic Area (EEA) and contains provisions and requirements relating to the gathering, holding and processing of personally identifiable information.   The regulation became enforceable on 25 May 2018. 

As a result, the trustee of the CUACPS is required to provide members with information about how it holds and processes your data and this is included in the Fair Processing Notice which is available here.

Q. Definitions - What is the Life Time Allowance (LTA)?

The UK government places a limit on the total value of pension benefits you can receive from pension schemes based in the UK (excluding state pension benefits) in a tax efficient way.  If the value of your benefits exceeds the LTA then a tax charge is payable on the excess over the LTA.  The LTA is currently £1,073,100.00.

Q. Annual statements - When will I receive my annual statement?

Your annual benefit statement will show your pension as at 31 July in the year of issue and will be issued in the autumn of the relevant year.

To be eligible to receive an annual benefit statement you will need to have been in the scheme for at least 1 year as at 31 July in the relevant year and you will need to still be contributing to the scheme.

Q. Contributions - What contributions do I pay to the scheme?

This will depend on when you joined the scheme.

If you joined the scheme on 01/01/2013 or later see here.

If you joined the scheme before 01/01/2013 see here.

Q. Contributions - What does the University pay into the Scheme?

Please see the latest Summary Funding Statement available here.

Q. Contributions - Can I reduce my contributions to the Scheme?

Your contributions are set under the rules of the scheme and it is not possible to reduce these unless you are paying AVCs in which case you could cease, or possibly reduce, your AVCs.

Q. Contributions - Can I make up the missing pension contributions following unpaid leave?

Yes, you can pay the contributions you would have paid if you had not been on unpaid leave to restore your pension for the time you were on unpaid leave.  Please contact the Pensions Office should you wish to do this.

Q. Contributions - Can I pay extra contributions to increase my pension?

If you joined the scheme on 01/01/2013 or later you can find details on topping up your benefits here.

If you joined the scheme before 01/01/2013 you can find details on topping up your benefits here.

Q. Absence - I am about to go on maternity leave, what will happen to my pension?

During the first 26 weeks of maternity leave you will continue to earn pension as if you had been at work even if your pay is reduced or you are unpaid as a result of your absence.  You will only pay contributions based on the pay you actually receive.

You will continue to earn pension as if you had been at work for any further period during which you are in receipt of maternity pay, even if your pay is reduced as a result of your absence.  You will only pay contributions based on the pay you actually receive.

If you have any unpaid period during the second 26 weeks of maternity leave you will be given the option to restore this period of service by paying the contributions you would have paid had you not been on unpaid maternity leave.   However, the Pensions Office relies on HR to advise us you have returned from maternity leave and so if you do not hear from us you should contact our office.

Q. Absence - I am on sick leave, what will happen to my pension?

While you are in receipt of any pay you will continue to earn pension as if you had been at work even if your pay is reduced as a result of your absence.  You will only pay contributions based on the pay you actually receive.

If you have any unpaid sick leave you will be given the option to restore this period of service by paying the contributions you would have paid had you not been on unpaid sick leave.   However, the Pensions Office relies on HR to advise us you have returned from sick leave and so if you do not hear from us you should contact our office.

Q. Updating your details - What should I do if I have changed my name?

You should send the original documents evidencing the change to the Pensions Office.

Q. Updating your details - My bank details have changed, how do I let you know?

Please complete and return the Change of Bank Details form available here.

Alternatively, please provide the new bank details in a signed letter.

The form or letter will need to be physically signed. A scan or a photograph of the document can then be returned to us by email or the document can be posted to our office.

Q. Updating your details - How do I let you know about my change of address?

If you are a pensioner or have left the scheme without an immediate entitlement to a pension please complete the change of address form available here.

Alternatively, please send the details of your new address in a signed letter.

The form or letter will need to be physically signed. A scan or a photograph of the document can then be returned to us by email or the document can be posted to our office.

If you are still contributing to the scheme please follow the processes required by your employer to update your address with them.

Q. Leaving the scheme - How do I opt out of the pension scheme?

Under the provisions of the Pensions Act 2008 you are only able to opt out once you have received certain specified information about the scheme, including information on how to opt out.  This will be issued to you by the Pensions Office shortly after you have been paid for the first time.

Provided that you opt out within 90 days of commencing employment you will be treated as if you had never joined the scheme and any contributions you have paid will be refunded to you in the next payroll.

Q. Leaving the scheme - If I opt out can I rejoin at a later date?

Yes, you can rejoin at any time. If you wish to re-join the pension scheme you will need to send a signed letter to the Pensions Office.  This can be emailed but it must include your signature.

Q. Leaving the scheme - I have opted out of the pension scheme, if I change jobs within the University will I be automatically enrolled?

If you change jobs this is classified as taking up a new employment and you will automatically be re-enrolled into a pension scheme by your employer if applicable following the same rules that would apply to a new employee. If re-enrolled you will receive a welcome letter which will include information on what to do if you do not wish to remain in the scheme.

Q. Leaving the scheme - Am I able to withdraw from the scheme if I have been a member for more than 90 days?

You will need to give a minimum of 28 days’ notice of your intention to opt out and your opt out will take effect from the first day of the month following the expiry of the notice period.  If you wish to opt out you will need to complete the opt out form which is available here.

Q. Leaving the scheme - Do I receive a refund with less than 2 years’ service?

If you have been a member of the scheme for less than 2 years’ when you leave employment or opt out of the scheme then you will receive a refund of your own contributions to the scheme less tax. 

If you have been a member of your employer's salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions you will not receive a refund of any contributions paid under the salary sacrifice arrangement.  

If you do not know if your employer operates a salary sacrifice arrangement or whether you are in a salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions you should check with your employer.

Q. Leaving the scheme - What is the CPS2 form?

This is the option form which is sent to you when you leave the scheme with less than 2 years’ service. You will need to return the completed form to the Pensions Office so we can deal with your benefits.

Q. Leaving the scheme - Why does the letter I have received from the Pensions Office on leaving the scheme say my refund is £0.00?

The trustee is only able to refund contributions which the member has paid personally. If you were a member of your employer's salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions while you were a member of the scheme you would not have paid any contributions to the scheme as these would have been paid by your employer on your behalf.  

If you have any queries about your employer’s salary sacrifice arrangement you should contact your employer.

Q. Leaving the scheme - I note that there is a deadline to return the CPS2 form. What if I miss the deadline?

If the CPS2 form is not returned by the deadline you may lose the right to transfer your benefits to another pension scheme resulting in your only option being a refund of your personal contributions.

If you were part of your employer's salary sacrifice arrangement this could result in your only option being a refund of £0.00 (see the previous question).

Q. Leaving the scheme - What happens when I leave employment?

The Pensions Office will be informed by your employer that you have left employment and will issue you with details of your leaving service benefits.  Please note that this may take up to 8 weeks from receipt of the notification from your employer.  If you are moving at the same time as leaving employment please advise the Pensions Office of your new address using the form available here.

If you joined the scheme on 01/01/2013 or later you can find details of your options here.

If you joined the scheme before 01/01/2013 you can find details of your options here.

Q. Death benefits - Does the Scheme pay any benefits if I die?

If you joined the scheme on 01/01/2013 or later you can find details of the death benefits here.

If you joined the scheme before 01/01/2013 you can find details of the death benefits here.

Q. Death benefits - What is the Expression of Wish Form and where can I find it?

The Expression of Wish form allows you to nominate one or more people to be considered by the trustee to receive any lump sum payable by the scheme in the event of your death.  You should note that the trustee cannot be bound by the form as it has to take into account all relevant circumstances at the date of your death.

The form is available here.

Q. Death benefits - Do I have to nominate my spouse/registered civil partner to receive a pension in the event of my death?

No, your legal spouse or registered civil partner will automatically receive a pension in the event of your death.

If you are not married but living with a partner then they may be eligible to receive a pension form the scheme in the event of your death and you can register them as a dependent by completing the Registration of Potential Dependant available here.

Q. Death benefits - I am getting divorced and do not want my spouse/registered civil partner to receive any benefits in the event of my death. How do I do this?

If you were to die before your marriage/civil partnership has been formally dissolved by the Court any spouse's pension due from the scheme will still be paid to your spouse/registered civil partner.

You could nominate someone else to receive any lump sum that becomes due in the event of your death by using the Expression of Wish Form available here.

Q. Retirement - How do I claim my Pension?

Information about how to claim your pension can be found here.

Q. Retirement - How do I find out about my State Pension?

The University Pensions Office does not deal with state pension.

Please visit the Government website here.

Q. Retirement - Will you accept copies or scans of documents?

We can accept copies or scans of documents as long as they can be clearly read.

If possible please provide your documents by emailing us a photograph or a scan.

Alternatively documents can be posted to our office.

Q. Retirement - Can I bring my documents to you?

We are currently unable to receive visitors in our offices. Documents will need to be provided by email or by post.

Q. Retirement - My doctor has advised me to apply for early retirement on health grounds, what do I need to do?

If you are an active member of the scheme you should contact your local HR team who will arrange for you to see Occupational Health who will advise you whether in their opinion you are likely to meet the criteria for early retirement on health grounds.  If they feel that you do then they will prepare a medical report to be considered by the trustee.

If the trustee approves your early retirement Occupational Health and your HR team will be informed so that a suitable retirement date can be agreed.

If you are a deferred member of the scheme you should write to the Pensions Office explaining that you wish to be considered for early retirement on health grounds.  We will then send you a medical consent form so that the trustee can approach your doctor(s) for medical reports.  Once the trustee has considered the reports you will be advised of the outcome.

Q. Retirement - What if I retire and move to another country. Can I still receive my pension?

Yes, but if you do not have a bank account in the UK any bank charges incurred in paying your pension to an overseas bank account will be deducted from your monthly pension payment

Q. Retirement - Is the retirement lump sum taxed?

Your retirement lump sum is paid tax free.  However, if you do not live in the UK, or are taxed outside of the UK you will need to check if you will be taxed on this payment.

Q. Retirement - Can I retire and continue to work for the University?

Yes, this is possible and is known as flexible retirement.

For information on flexible retirement please see here.

Q. Retirement - How do I get booked onto the PPD Retirement seminars?

Details of the seminars and how to book can be found on the following website:

https://www.ppd.admin.cam.ac.uk/.

Q. Retirement - How do I request a retirement estimate?

Please contact our office by email or by post to request an estimate 

If you are still contributing to the scheme please provide the retirement date that you would like the estimate to be based on. The estimate will assume that you continue contributing with your current level of earnings through to the retirement date provided.

If you are no longer contributing to the scheme then an estimate showing the current value of your deferred pension will be produced as we cannot predict how your deferred pension will be revalued for inflation between now and a future date.

Q. Pensions in payment - When will my pension be paid?

Your pension will be paid on the 26th of each month unless this is a weekend or a Bank Holiday when it will be paid on the last working day before the 26th.

December's payments will sometimes be paid earlier in the month.

Q. Pensions in payment - When will I receive my P60?

Your P60 will be issued to you by 31st May in line with HMRC's regulations.

Q. Pensions in payment - How do you get notified of my new tax code from the HRMC?

Tax codes are sent to us electronically by HMRC and loaded into our payroll system each month prior to the month's payments being processed.

Q. Transfers - Can I transfer benefits from another pension scheme?

You can transfer benefits into the CUADCPS. If you wish to investigate a transfer you should complete the Transfer in authority form available here.

If you do not already have a fund with the CUADCPS then you will need to also complete the CUADCPS joiner form available here.

Q. Transfers - How do I transfer my benefits to my new pension scheme?

You should ask the administrator of your new scheme to contact our office.  They should include your signed authority to provide them with information about your CUACPS benefits.

If you also have benefits in the CUADCPS which you are interested in transferring then your new scheme will need to also contact SEI Capita separately.

Q. Transfers - Can I transfer my CUACPS pension to an overseas pension scheme?

You will need to seek independent financial advice and the receiving scheme must be recognised by the tax authorities in the UK.  Please see the Government website here.

Q. Financial advice - Where can I obtain financial advice?

The University does not endorse any specific Financial Advisor but there are some firms that offer preferential rates to University employees, see www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/local_discounts_v5.pdf for further details.

There is free advice available from www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement, an arm's-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions.

There is advice on finding a Financial Advisor at: www.unbiased.co.uk/