Super that gives you confidence in retirement

The DBD is designed to give reliable growth over your life and give you a better idea of how much you’ll have to retire on.

The DBD is open to eligible higher education employees receiving 14% or 17% employer contributions.

How it works

Your superannuation includes contributions from your employer and your take-home pay. There are 2 parts to your DBD account: the defined benefit component and the accumulation component. Your defined benefit component is calculated by a formula. Your accumulation component grows with contributions and positive investment returns.

See the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.5 MB) for more information.


Your employer contributes 14% or 17% of your salary to super, depending on your work arrangement. When you first join the DBD, you'll automatically contribute 7% of your after-tax take-home pay (called default member contributions) as well. You can reduce or cancel your default member contributions at any time, but doing this will affect your super and other benefits.

Your default total contribution is 24% of your salary (if you get 17% employer contributions) or 21% (if you get 14% employer contributions).

Your DBD account components

Defined benefit component

Your defined benefit component is calculated with a formula based on your contributions, your age, your work arrangements, and your salary over the last 5 years.

Your contributions to the defined benefit component are pooled together with other defined benefit members' contributions and invested together. Read more about funding the DBD or download UniSuper’s Defined Benefit Division explained (PDF, 492KB).

  • See the DBD formula in detail

    The DBD formula

    The defined benefit formula for when you resign or retire is shown below. A different formula may apply if you joined the DBD before 1 January 2015. You can check your benefit statement to see your formula.

    Benefit Salary
    Generally, your average salary over the last 5 years you’ve contributed
    Benefit Service
    How long you’ve been a DBD member
    Lump sum factor
    Based on your age when we calculate your defined benefit
    Average Service Fraction

    Reflecting your level of employment (full-time/part-time) and any allowances throughout your DBD membership

    Average Contribution Factor
    How much you’ve contributed to the DBD throughout your DBD membership

    Example of the DBD formula

    Breanna Dellathy

    On the date of calculation

    Average salary over the last 5 years: $50,000

    DBD membership: 5 years

    Service history: Full-time throughout her DBD membership

    Age: 40

    Member contributions: 7% throughout her DBD membership

    Breanna's defined benefit component

    Breanna is 40 years old (lump sum factor = 18%) and has been a DBD member for 5 years (benefit service = 5). She has worked full-time since joining (Average Service Fraction = 100%) and her average salary over the last 5 years is $50,000 (Benefit Salary= $50,000).

    Breanna has made default member contributions throughout her DBD membership (Average Contribution Factor = 100%).

    Breanna’s defined benefit component is:

    $50,000 × 5 × 18% × 100% × 100% = $45,000

Accumulation component

The money in your accumulation component earns investment returns and generally grows over time. Changes in investment markets directly affect the amount in this component, so future balances can be harder to predict. You can choose from a range of investment options how the money in your accumulation component is invested.

Money transferred from other superannuation funds (rollovers), or extra personal contributions are added to your accumulation component.

Inbuilt benefits

Most DBD members receive inbuilt benefits automatically to help cover against injury, illness and death. UniSuper provides your inbuilt benefits, not our insurer, so costs are built into your DBD membership. This means you can’t change or cancel your benefits and their costs won’t change over time.

How they work

Your benefits are based on your salary and work arrangements. Your default member contribution rate and age may also affect your inbuilt death benefit. Generally, a 3-year exclusion period applies to pre-existing conditions.

See the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.5 MB) for more information.

What they cover

While inbuilt benefits are similar to insurance, different rules and eligibility requirements apply.

Event Inbuilt benefit Fact Sheets
Temporarily unable to work due to illness or injury Monthly payments (including super) for up to 2 years Temporary Incapacity benefits (PDF 177 KB)
Permanently unable to work due to illness or injury Monthly payments (including super) up to age 65 Inbuilt Disablement benefits (PDF 175 KB)
Terminal illness or death A single lump sum payment to you or your beneficiaries  

Frequently asked questions

  • When will my inbuilt benefits cease?

    You will continue to be covered by inbuilt benefits while you’re with your employer and eligible to contribute to the DBD. Benefits for disablement and temporary incapacity cease at age 65 and death cover ceases at age 60.

  • As a DBD member, is Income Protection cover available to me?

    Income Protection cover isn’t available to DBD members. This is because DBD members generally have access to the inbuilt temporary incapacity benefit, which also provides an income until you’re able to return to work.

  • As a DBD member, can I get insurance?

    In addition to the inbuilt benefits, you can receive insurance cover without providing health evidence to our insurer if you meet the eligibility criteria. You may automatically get default Death and/or Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover and also be able to elect top up cover (Death and/or TPD insurance cover) within your first 180 days of membership.

    You can also apply to increase your cover at any time subject to acceptance by the insurer.

    Insurance premiums will be deducted from your accumulation component and insurance cover will cease if you have insufficient funds..

  • Who is my death benefit paid to?

    Your death benefit must be paid to certain types of beneficiaries as outlined in superannuation law. This means that if you don’t make a beneficiary nomination or your nomination is out of date, the Trustee will decide who to pay and in what proportions. For more information visit

Everyone’s insurance needs are different. As your life changes, your insurance needs can change too. You should frequently review your cover to ensure it’s right for you and your situation. If you’re unsure, consider speaking to our award-winning advice team. To find out more, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 1.54 MB) and Insurance in your super (PDF, 827 KB).


Summary of the fees and costs associated with your Defined Benefit Division account and based on the Balanced investment option for your accumulation component. Different investment options have different fees and costs. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 1.54 MB) for the full details of our product fees, including how and when they're paid.
Type of fee Amount
Investment fees and costs1, 2 (accumulation component) 0.42% per year
Transaction costs1,3,4 0.09% per year
Buy-sell spread Not applicable.
Switching fee Not applicable.
Other fees and costs2 Where there is activity related fees and costs they are deducted as described in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 1.54 MB).

Things you need to know

1 The investment fees and costs and transaction costs shown are indicative only and are based on the investment fees and costs and transaction costs for the year ended 30 June 2023, including several components which are estimates. The actual amount you’ll be charged in subsequent financial years will depend on the actual fees and costs incurred by the Trustee in managing the investment option. Investment fees and costs include an amount of 0.03% for performance fees. The calculation basis for this amount is set out in the ‘Additional explanation of fees and costs’ in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 1.54 MB).

2 See ‘Additional explanation of fees and costs’ in ‘Fees and other costs’ section of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 1.54 MB).

3 The investment fees and costs and transaction costs for other investment options are set out in section ‘Fees and other costs’, and are calculated on the same basis, and paid at the same frequency and in the same manner as for the Balanced investment option.

4 For the financial year ended 30 June 2024, the transaction costs for this option are expected to increase by 0.07%.

Choose your super product

You can generally choose whether to stay in the DBD or transfer to the Accumulation 2 product any time within 2 years of joining the DBD. Accumulation 2 offers accumulation-only super that still comes with insurance (where eligible) and you can choose how to invest your super from a range of investment options.

Remember, you can only make this choice once. If you do transfer, you can’t go back to the DBD.

Compare the Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2

See how the DBD and Accumulation 2 compare and find out which product might suit you.

Happy with the Defined Benefit Division?

You don’t need to do anything. You’ll stay in the DBD unless you transfer within 2 years of joining.

We can help you decide

UniSuper Advice is on hand to help you understand your options. You can make an appointment with an adviser over the phone, video call, or in person at one of our member centres in Australia. There’s no extra cost for this appointment.
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.