Everything you need to know about pension age changes

Everything you need to know about pension age changes
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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.

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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.

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What’s the latest?

Judicial Review begins this week into the handling of women’s pensions

Women across the country are backing the campaign to overturn the rules that have raised women’s pensions by as much as six years from 60 to 66. It will particularly affect those in their 50s and 60s that have been left in hardship. The women will today (June 5th) protest in the capital to show their support.

WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have fought long and hard for the government to reconsider the changes and now the High Court are finally reviewing it. The campaign group Back to 60 will be arguing that the changes made are wrong and discriminatory against women born in the early 1950s.

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WASPI women protest in London against 'unfair' pension changes 

Many women born in the 1950s are feeling robbed of their retirement, due to changes to the state pension age that sees some women claiming their pension many years after they expected to.

And this week thousands of these women from across the country marched on Westminster to protest about the changes, which many feel has left them out of pocket.

They timed the protest on June 29 to coincide with the anniversary of the day Emmeline Pankhurst marched to Parliament with hundreds of Suffragettes, to present a petition to Prime Minister Asquithe on June 29 1909.

Hundreds of the protesters and WASPI choir members sang their group anthem, with its message of unity, on the College Green calling for the Government to take notice and help those affected. Meanwhile, WASPI members and supporters met with a lobby of MPs.

Among the MPs braving the rain to join the demo outside the Houses of Parliament was SNP MP Mhari Black. “The very fact that we have managed to galvanise so many women throughout the whole of the UK, to realise that they have a common cause, that they have an injustice that must be fixed, is quite incredible,”she said. She added that “my mum’s a WASPI woman and she would kill me if I didn’t come out.”

WASPI co-founder Anne Keen, described the protest as the coming together of supporters angered at the UK Government’s “lack of response to this manifest unfairness”.

The WASPI group also met with Baroness Ros Altmann on Wednesday where they pushed for fair transitional arrangements for the women affected by these changes. Baroness Altmann expressed a desire to find a way to help the 1950’s women and reminded them of all her work in 2011, but both she and Minister Vara claimed that there was no money available at the moment.

Altmann expressed a desire to ascertain the views of all women in a more systematic way, too but regretted that the DWP did not have the available funds to carry out this work themselves. 
So WASPI agreed to explore with the APPG ways to conduct this survey on favoured options.

Since the 1940s women have had an expectation that they will receive their State Pension at 60. However, in 1995 the government increased women's State Pension age to 65 to bring it in line with men - and in 2011 the Chancellor upped everyone's retirement age to 66.

The changes made in 1995 came into effect from 2010 to 2020 as women's pension age gradually moved from age 60 to age 65 across this decade. The changes made in 2011 came into effect later, starting in 2016 as women's pension age was moved out to age 66 in stages according to date of birth with women born after 6 September 1954 seeing their pension age move from 64 and a half as a result of the 1995 Act to age 66 as a result of the 2011 Act.

So millions of women who thought they would be able to retire at 60 now have to wait years more before they become eligible for a state pension.

  • If you've been affected by the state pension age changes, be sure to check out and support WASPI