More than 250,000 women affected by changes to the state retirement age have died while waiting for compensation
- ‘Waspi’ women say DWP failed to communicate raising state retirement age to 66
- Four million women born in the 1950s were affected by the change
- Many were close to retirement when they realized they would not receive a pension at 60
More than 250,000 women affected by changes in the age of state pensions have died while waiting for compensation, as revealed by the Women against Inequality in State Pensions (Waspi) campaign.
Nearly four million women born in the 1950s saw their retirement plans revolutionized after the DWP’s failure to communicate increases to the state retirement age from 60 to 65, and then 66, and tens of thousands as a result. they plunged into poverty.
Hundreds of thousands of women missed out on retirement planning, with some receiving age change notice just months before turning 60.
Many of the women affected had already retired or reduced their working hours when they found out they would not receive their state pension at age 60.
Campaign: Waspi group has protested ‘unfair’ way changes to state retirement age were implemented
Last month, the parliamentary Ombudsman accused the government of “maladministration” for delays in informing 3.8 million women born in the 1950s that their state retirement age would be raised to 66.
The full flat rate state pension is £203.85 per week or £10,600 per year. The state pension is likely to rise 8.2 per cent to £220.60 a week or around £11,500 a year before the next election.
‘A miserable end to a lifetime of hard work’
Susan Taylor is an affected Waspi woman whose sister died in 2019.
Says Susan, ‘Both my sister and I were born in the 1950s and our retirement plans were completely devastated by the state retirement age fiasco.
“I lost it at 59 to cancer and was diagnosed with lung cancer at 62. I have no quality of life and the financial pressures I face are immense.
It pains me to think that my sister will never see the end of our campaign.
“Some days it is extremely difficult to see anything more than a miserable end to a lifetime of hard work as the fight for justice for so many women continues.
“It pains me to think that she will never see the end of our campaign, but I am even more determined to fight for our injustices to be properly recognized on behalf of all the women who are no longer with us.”
The second stage report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Health Service has yet to be released, following a successful legal challenge against its original draft, which was found to be illegal.
A final stage three report will then recommend to the government what level of compensation should be paid to women affected by the hardships tens of thousands have faced. But campaigners say the women have waited long enough and ministers should act now.
How much is the state pension?
The full flat rate state pension is £203.85 per week or £10,600 per year.
People who retired before April 2016 on a full basic state pension receive £156.20 per week or £8,120 per year.
The old basic fee is supplemented by additional state pension rights (S2P and Serps) if they were earned during working years.
People who have contracted with S2P and Serps to pay less National Insurance over the years and retire after April 2016 could receive less than the new full state pension.
Workers now must have 35 years of contributions to get the new flat-rate state pension, compared to 30 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions to get the old state pension.
But even if you paid in full for a total of 35 years or more, contracting for a few years could still reduce what you get.
Everyone has the option of deferring their state pension to get more in their later years and can buy state pension supplements to fill in the gaps.
‘Justice delayed is justice denied’
The Waspi campaign was formed in 2015 to campaign for fair and speedy compensation, with some of the hardest-hit women receiving just a few months’ notice of a six-year delay in their state pension.
The milestone milestone of a quarter of a million deaths of women since the campaign’s formation means that around 15 percent of all those affected by changes to the state retirement age have died since then.
Angela Madden, Waspi campaign chair, says: ‘For the 250,000 women who have died while waiting for this problem to be resolved, justice delayed is truly justice denied.
‘The Ombudsman’s inquiry has lasted five long years, and two years ago it confirmed that the DWP was guilty of maladministration.
“Making women wait just one more day for an adequate offer of compensation shows egregious contempt for all of us.”
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘We support millions of people every year and our priority is to make sure they get the help and support they are entitled to.
‘The government decided more than 25 years ago that it was going to make the state retirement age the same for men and women.
Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have upheld the DWP’s actions under successive governments dating back to 1995 and the Supreme Court denied the claimants leave to appeal.’
What is the controversy around raising the state retirement age for women?
For decades, the age at which you could claim your state pension benefits was 65 for men and 60 for women.
Plans to equalize the state retirement age for men and women were outlined in 1995, when the then Conservative government declared its intention to gradually increase the retirement age for women to 65 between 2010 and 2020.
This was followed in 2007 by a Labor announcement that both men and women would see their retirement age rise to 66 between 2024 and 2026.
But in 2011, Chancellor George Osborne pushed the timing of both changes forward to 2018 and 2020 respectively, hitting women particularly hard because their raises happened earlier than expected and in quick succession.
Changes to the state retirement age for women were miscommunicated, resulting in millions of women born in the 1950s receiving notice of an extension to their retirement age only five years in advance.
Women lost up to £50,000 due to the increased age limit.