If you, like many other women, have found yourself unable to retire at the age you were promised, it can be hard to know what your rights are. We’ve worked together with WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) to answer some of the questions you might have.
What has happened to the State Pension age?
In both 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts, the Government have changed the age at which the State Pension can be claimed. In 1995 it was decided the State Pension age for women would rise slowly between April 2010 and April 2020 to the age of 65. However in 2011 it was announced that this process would be hastened, with the State Pension age for women rising to 65 by November 2018, and then rising again (along with men) to 66 by April 2020.
Who is affected by the State Pension age change?
While all working women are affected, as the date they will receive their state pension has shifted, it is in some ways worse for women born in the 1950s, as they are the ones with the shortest notice period - allowing little time to adjust their plans and savings. There are around 3.8 million women, born in the 1950s, who have been impacted by the lack of notice of increases in their State Pension age.
Am I affected by the State Pension age change?
Find out with this calculator from Which?
What are the problems for women facing a new State Pension age?
Many women affected were given little notice – some had just a year before they planned to retire when they were given the news – and many have no other source of income. Some have found it difficult to return to work in later life and have faced age discrimination. Others have long-term health problems that make working full-time impossible, or have taken on caring responsibilities on the understanding they’d be receiving a pension at 60. Finally, some divorce settlements have been calculated using projected incomes including a state pension from the age of 60.
How much money could I lose because of pension age changes?
A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the rising State Pension age left women’s household incomes on average £32 per week lower, increasing the absolute income poverty rate in women aged 60-62 by 6.4 per cent.
What does WASPI want?
The campaign group WASPI is calling for fairness in the new rules (rather than a reversal of the act) that would include a non means-tested bridging pension and compensation from the age of 60 until the State Pension age, essentially allowing women the choice to retire at the age they had planned.
Its members agree with equalisation between the sexes, but feel the way new rules have been implemented are unfair.
What has WASPI done to help?
So far the campaign has raised £100,000 to fund an initial legal campaign, allowing thousands of women to submit individual complaints and make their voices heard. We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.
What can I do to fight unfair pension age changes?
- Firstly, join WASPI if you're not already a member. The campaign will help keep you updated on any progress, as well as helping you feel less alone.
- Donations to the campaign are extremely welcome.
- Use a template letter to write to your MP
- Spread the word! Many women don't yet realise they will be affected.
- For more news and views, pick up the latest Yours magazine