Attention! Women born in the 1950s! You should be concerned, and annoyed about your state pension (SP). If you thought you were getting it at 60, after a lifetime of hard work, then you should read on. You won’t get it until you’re 66.
It is right that retirement ages for men and women should be harmonised ; there is no dispute about that. However when the implementation is seriously flawed, sufficient notice of the change not given, long-term personal plans undermined, and women on the verge of poverty as a consequence, then this becomes an issue of natural justice….and action is required.
Increasing the state pension age for women was first contemplated in 1995 by the Conservative government but nothing was decided or published. Independent commissions at the time recommended that 10 years notice should be given of any change. Nothing of any consequence took place until 2009 ( 14 years later) when some women received a letter about the changes. In 2011 an Act was passed which accelerated the phasing-in of the retirement ages for women.
By March 2012 women had to wait until 61 before they could start receiving SP, by March 2014 it had been delayed to 62, and March 2016 to 63, then the slip accelerates.
A woman born in February 1953 will retire at 63 years old. Someone born 10 months later, retires at 65 a further delay of 2 years! At best they will have received 4 years notice of a 5 year slip. But for many they never received a letter, they didn’t get 4 years notice, they found out by accident in the last months of their working life. They turned 60, with no pension that, in good faith, they thought were due to receive.
To re-iterate, good practice is 10 years notice from being informed of the change. Women, born in the 1950s have had their pension whisked away, metaphorically, “ from under their noses as their backs were turned”….and deferred. That is the injustice
If it was as simple as ringing up someone to get a job, and work for a few more years then one might say…why does it matter?
Women born in the 1950s were brought up in a different world. For the vast majority, their natural destiny was to prepare for marriage, have children, be a permanent housewife and, any job, would be for “pin money”. The notion of a profession, an independent existence, a private pension and separate wealth simply was never an option for most. Some will be ok as they will depend on their husbands in the intervening years – but they should not have to – others will seriously struggle if life has dealt the wrong cards in the wrong sequence. One woman I met, who recently lost her husband, and who is struggling with her health summed it up:
“The only thing that I’ve got to support me financially, is my ill-health.”
A nationwide campaign for justice for the women affected by this change is WASPI ( Women Against State Pension Inequality). Perhaps, it should be “Injustice” as WASPI is in favour of equal retirement ages between men and women.
The solution which they are striving for is a short-term transitional pension to help close the deficit caused by the flawed implementation . This will be a temporary burden on the Exchequer as time will naturally reduce the transition to zero. This would be offset by the inevitable Job Seekers Allowances, Employment Support Allowance, or in-work benefits that would be claimed.
Their campaign has widespread support from throughout the country, including many non-Tory politicians, and Derby City Council ( see motion below)but to enact any change there is much work to do, and they need the support from as many people as possible. If you are affected and need help or guidance and/or would like to be active in the campaigning then please contact the local WASPI group. CLICK HERE
Chart showing retirement ages, by month for women who have not yet retired, up to when the SP age becomes 66.
Derby City Council Motion from 20th July 2016
Notice of Motion:
Transitional State Pension Arrangements. Moved by Councillor Eldret, seconded by Councillor Jackson.
Council calls on the Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born on or after 6 April 1951, who have been unfairly burdened by the increase to the State Pension Age (SPA). Council notes that many women have had significant pension changes imposed on them by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011, with little notification. Some women have only had two years notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age. Many women born in the 1950s are already excluded from the labour market as they care for elderly relatives, provide childcare for grandchildren, or suffer discrimination in the workplace. These women have worked hard, raised families and paid their tax and national insurance with the expectation that they would be financially secure when they reached 60.
While Council accepts that women and men should retire at the same time, the rise in the women’s state pension age has been implemented too rapidly, with little opportunity for those affected to make alternative arrangements. Council calls on the Government to reconsider transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6 April 1951, so that they do not face unnecessary hardship as they approach retirement.
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