Women’s State Pension changes: What you need to know

Women’s State Pension changes: What you need to know

State Pensions: How women are hardest hit

 What are the changes?

There have been two Acts that increased the State Pension Age (SPA) for women born in the 1950s: The Pensions Act 1995, which increased women’s SPA from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020; and the Pensions Act 2011, which accelerated the increase to 65 (from April 2016, when it was 63, so that it will now reach 65 in November 2018) and then brought the increase to 66 forward to October 2020. You can find out your state pension age here

It is estimated that the number of women affected by the Pensions Act 1995 onwards to be 3.7 million.

Campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality says that the pension changes have come too with too little notice and will hit women hard, especially those on low incomes.

Who is affected the most?

If you were born in 1953, the earliest you would have reached your SPA (State Pension Age) is at 62 but woman born in 1954 would have to wait as much as four additional years.

·       Women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1953 have a SPA under the 1995 Act of between 60 and 63. They reach SPA by March 2016;

·       Women born between 6 April 1953 and 5 December 1953 have an SPA under the 2011 Act of between 63 years and 3 months and 65. They reach SPA by November 2018;

·       Men and women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 April 1960 have an SPA set by the 2011 Act of between 65 years and 3 months and 66. They reach SPA by 2020, or their 66th birthday, whichever is later.

What does this mean?

The falls in household incomes caused by the reform have pushed income poverty among 60 to 62-year-old women up sharply (by 6.4 percentage points compared to a pre-reform poverty rate among women of this age of 14.8%) (ONS)

Between August 2013 and August 2017, the number of women aged 60+ claiming benefit increased by around 9,500, a 115% increase.  The number of women aged 60+ claiming Employment Support Allowance also increased August 2013 to August 2017, by around 121,000 (a 413% increase). 

  • 2.6 million women (and 2.3 million men) are affected by the changes to pensions made in 2011.

  • WASPI state that; “there are 3.8 million affected by the lack of notice of the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts. Not all of them even know it’s happened.”

  • Pension is not a benefit but rather a right.

David Drew MP has received many letters, phone calls and emails from women who have been affected by the changes:

“I was born 3 months too late to claim my pension at 60, and had to wait until I was almost 64.”

“I feel very bitter that six years was added on to my working life which as I see it the Government have stolen £36,000 of my pension.”

“Much as I fully understand that there have to be some changes to the pension age due to people living longer and the severe strain this places on the Treasury, I feel that my particular age group and gender have been unfairly targeted.”

Patricia expected to be able to retire in 2014, aged 60 having worked for 44 years, mainly in the NHS. Instead she was told, with just two years’ notice, that she needed to work a further five years:

I was born in February 1954 and worked for 44 years mainly for the NHS, as well as bringing up two children, looking after a house etc, I worked evenings and nights so my husband was able to help with childcare.
“At the age of 58, in 2012, I received a letter to inform me that my state pension would not be paid to me until July 2019, when I will be 65 and a half. I feel this a total disgrace after working all these years and never once claimed any benefits of any sort.
I reduced my working hours in 2007 to help our daughter and her family. I looked after our granddaughter and still do to enable our daughter to work part-time as nurse with the NHS.
I also gave up work in 2011 to look after my mother-in-law who was very poorly with cancer, so I could nurse her in our own home to save a hospital bed, but at that time I was still thinking I would be able to claim my state pension at the age of 60.
“I feel so upset, as I should have been receiving a state pension for the last four years and two months, and enjoying some money which I feel I deserve after working 44 years. I paid my money in to enable myself to have a pension.
I get quite upset having no money of my own, having to use only the small NHS pension.
— Patricia Kuczaj, Dursley

All are welcome at the information meeting at St Laurence Church, Church Street, Stroud, Thursday 3 May. Doors open 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

However if you can't attend, we will be preparing a full report of the evening. Email david.drew.mp@parliament.uk if you would like to receive it. You can also subscribe to David's newsletter to receive regular updates about his work.

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We will be 'live tweeting' throughout the evening. Look for the tag #stroudpensionfairness on twitter. And use it to share your thoughts too!

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