Published On: Thu, Sep 12th, 2019

State pension age changes: Women detail ‘bitter disappointment’ at facing cash shortfall | Personal Finance | Finance


The state pension age is due to reach 66 for both sexes in October 2020, and future plans will see it increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028 under the Pensions Act 2014. Under the current law, the state pension age could rise from 67 to 68 between 2044 and 2046. Women in particular have seen big changes to their state pension, and campaign groups Women Against State Pension Equality (WASPI) and Back to 60 are fighting against the moves by the government. WASPI, who represent almost 3.8 million women born in the 1950s, are calling for fair transitional state pension arrangements for all WASPI women.

This means a bridging pension and compensation for those affected to cover the period between age 60 and the new state pension age.

However, the campaigning has come too late for some women, with plenty up and down the country facing hardship thanks to a shortfall in their expected retirement income.

Some have shared their stories, with one woman telling Lincolnshire Live she was “bitterly disappointed” at the situation she is in now, aged 63.

She said: “I was born in 1956 and I am having to wait 6 more years for my pension than I was expecting.

“I served in the Royal Navy until my first daughter was born, then took part time jobs until my youngest daughter was at secondary school. It was around this time that I found out that I wouldn’t get the pension I had been promised by the government.

“I then went to university (finishing when I was 50) and achieved a BSc Hons to return to work full time in the NHS. I had to retire from the NHS due to ill health.

“I have a small navy pension and a small NHS pension which together come to approx £560 per month.

“So after a lifetime of serving this country and it’s people I can’t even afford to buy my grandchild birthday cards or presents. To say I am bitterly disappointed is putting it mildly.”

Another said she was anticipating a “fearful existence” thanks to the changes in the age at which she could claim her state pension.

Denise Taylor told Lincolnshire Live: “I had worked in secretarial roles since I was 15, and eventually trained to be a legal executive. Unfortunately my husband and I could not have children, so I focused on my career.

“The legal profession has always been male dominated, and was certainly so then. This was brought home to me by things like not being allocated a secretary like my male colleagues, being told, as I was a woman, I could do my own typing. Also not being given the same salary or perks as the men, such as company pension scheme or private medical insurance.

“I gave up work to look after my elderly grandparents, but was able to go back to work part time after they sadly passed away.

“By this time my father in law had passed away and we were caring for my elderly mum in law. My health too was deteriorating, and it was so hard to just manage my own disability, let alone look after mum, and work part-time. My husband took early retirement to basically look after both of us, giving me the extra support I needed.

“At this point we were sure that I would be retiring at 60 and we had worked out the finances accordingly.

“Then in 2014 I had a nasty shock, the company I worked for was re-organising, and I would either have to increase my working hours or leave.

“I could not work the hours they wanted, so had to accept redundancy. I can well remember the HR lady saying, ‘well it’s OK for you, you will be drawing your pension soon.’

“It was only when I contacted the job centre that I was told that I would not be able to retire until I was 66. I was also told that because I had been working only part time for the past 10 years I would not be entitled to claim Job Seekers Allowance; and that as I had a husband (who by now was in receipt of his State Pension) he would have to support me as our savings and his earnings from his work pension took us over the threshold that would entitle me to any type of benefit.

“I’m so angry because I have worked all my life and we have saved instead of squandering our money. Instead of being able to enjoy a quiet, relaxing retirement, I can only look forward to a fearful existence, and having to try to care for my husband as he grows older and his health deteriorates.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government decided more than 20 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality, and this has been clearly communicated.

“We need to raise the age at which all of us can draw a State Pension so that it is sustainable now and for future generations.

“The Government has thoroughly reviewed the options for equalising the State Pension age, listening to concerns along the way. We have already introduced transitional arrangements, costing £1.1 billion. This concession reduced the proposed increase in State Pension age for more than 450,000 men and women, and means that no woman will see her pension age change by more than 18 months, relative to the original 1995 Act timetable.

“By 2030, more than three million women stand to gain an average of £550 more per year through the introduction of the new State Pension. At least 80 per cent of women reaching State Pension age before 2030 stand to receive more under the new State Pension than they would have done under the previous State Pension system.

“Women retiring today can still expect to receive the State Pension for more than 22 years on average – around two years longer than men – because of their longer life expectancy. Means tested support is available, if needed, for anyone experiencing difficulty.”



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