How it works

Your superannuation includes contributions from your employer and your take-home pay. There are 2 parts to your super: the defined benefit component and the accumulation component. In a defined benefit fund, the member retirement benefit is calculated by a formula. Your accumulation component grows with contributions and 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).

Example of your default super contributions

Total annual salary package


incl. super

17% from your employer

Super contribution made by employer

$14,000 paid into your DBD component | $3,000 paid into your accumulation component 

7% from your after-tax take-home pay

Default member contribution 

Paid into your defined benefit component

24% total super contribution

Your total super contribution

Contribution taxes apply to employer contributions.

Your 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 The Defined Benefit Division explained (PDF, 492KB).

  • See the DBD formula in detail

    The DBD formula

    Defined benefit leaving service formula 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 grows over time. Changes in investment markets directly affect the amount in this component, so growth can be harder to predict. You can choose 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 and insurance

Your inbuilt benefits and insurance cover you for life’s unplanned events. Most DBD members receive these automatically.

While they are similar, different rules and eligibility requirements apply.

DBD inbuilt benefits and insurance cover at a glance

Event Inbuilt benefit Insurance
Temporarily unable to work due to
illness or injury
Monthly payments (including super)
for up to 2 years
Not available to DBD members
Permanently unable to work due to
illness or injury
Monthly payments (including super)
up to age 65
  • A single lump sum payment
  • You can be covered to age 70
Terminal illness or death A single lump sum payment to you
or your beneficiaries
  • A single lump sum payment
  • You can be covered to age 70

All events must meet the relevant definitions in the UniSuper Trust Deed and Regulations.

Inbuilt benefits

Your inbuilt benefits can cover you if you can’t work due to illness or injury, if you have a terminal illness or pass away.

  • Formulas that take into account your work arrangements and salary determine your benefit amount. Your default member contribution rate could also impact how we calculate your inbuilt death benefit.
  • You don’t pay premiums – costs are built into the DBD product.
  • You can’t change or cancel them.

Generally, a 3-year exclusion period applies to pre-existing conditions. See the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.5 MB) for more information.


Death and total and permanent disablement (TPD) insurance cover you if you can’t work again due to illness, injury, if you have a terminal illness or pass away.

  • The amount of cover you have usually depends on your age.
  • You can apply to increase or cancel this cover.
  • Premiums are deducted from your accumulation component each month. Your premium amount will depend on the type and level of cover you have.

This insurance is provided by TAL Life Limited (TAL). 

Visit our frequently asked questions and glossary page to find out more about insurance and inbuilt benefits for the Defined Benefit Division.



Summary of the fees charged with respect to your Defined Benefit Division account and the Balanced investment option (accumulation component). Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.5 MB) for the full details of our product fees, including how and when they're paid.
Type of fee Amount
Investment fees and costs1,2,3
(accumulation component)
0.42% per year
Transaction costs1,3,4 0.09% per year
  • 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 product disclosure statement. See more about investment costs.

    Refer to ‘Additional explanation of fees and costs’ in the product disclosure statement.

    3 The investment fees and costs and transaction costs for other investment options are set out in the product disclosure statement. They are calculated on the same basis, and paid at the same frequency and in the same manner as the Balanced investment option.

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

Document download
Find out more about the Defined Benefit Division in the Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2  Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.5 MB) and Insurance in your super (PDF, 2 MB). Opt into the DBD (PDF, 216 KB) - Please use this form if you’re considering a DBD membership.

Choose your super product

You can choose whether to stay in the DBD or transfer to the Accumulation 2 product. Accumulation 2 offers accumulation-only super that still comes with insurance and you can choose how to invest all of your super.

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.
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