DWP urged to compensate women hit by state pension age changes
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The SNP’s Patricia Gibson urged the Government to recompense the so-called Waspi generation women for lost payments as “compensation is their right”. Around 3.8 million women missed out on state pension payments when the state pension age increased from 60 to 65, and later to 66 for both men and women.
The legislation increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 to bring it in line with the state pension age for men, with the change to be phased over 10 years for women born between 1950 and 1955, from 2010.
This is the so-called WASPI – which refers to the state pension age campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality – generation of women, who are continuing to campaign for compensation after the changes.
In July 2021, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman ruled the DWP had not given sufficient notice of the changes, to allow the women time to amend their retirement plans.
The state pension age is due to increase to 68 for both men and women over the coming years with some analysts expecting the Government to bring forward the changes.
The SNP’s Patricia Gibson said during a House of Commons debate about the state pension age: “It is bad enough that the state pension age is due to rise again from 66 to 67 by 2028.
“It is even worse that the women born in the 1950s had their state pension age increased with little or no notice, a move that has robbed them of tens of thousands of pounds of their hard-earned and expected state pension, throwing many of them into deep poverty and unnecessary hardship.
“The minister may say that no final decision has been taken, but how can anyone, having witnessed how women born in the 1950s have been treated, have any real faith that the Government understands how the increase in retirement age would have a disproportionate impact on those who have worked all their lives for poor pay?”
The MP spoke about her experience speaking to women from the WASPI generation and how they had been affected by the change in the retirement age.
She explained: “Many discovered, often by sheer accident, that their anticipated pension would not arrive until years later, as there was equalisation with men.
“The anger, sense of betrayal and disappointment was only inflamed when UK Government Ministers bizarrely and insensitively insisted that this provided an opportunity for the women affected to train for new careers.”
She said one in four WASPI women struggle to make payments on crucial bills while one third are in debt, with single women the worst affected.
Speaking of future plans to raise the state pension age, she said: “We must all learn from the huge injustice perpetrated on WASPI women – I applaud their campaign for justice – but we cannot permit even more people to be robbed of tens of thousands of pounds of their rightful state pension as life expectancy stalls or even falls in Scotland.”
Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain said she has often met WASPI campaigners. She said: “They often stand in the cold and damp waiting all day to be heard.
“I urge the minister and members across the House to meet them, if they have not done so previously.
“Although this debate is about the future, I cannot mention the WASPI women without talking about their ongoing right for compensation. They have been waiting years now, and thousands have died without ever seeing a penny.”
She called for any future changes to the state pension age to be communicated “early and fully” with Britons.
She added: “People must be able to plan ahead. Age UK suggests 10 years as the length of time in which people need certainty to plan for retirement, I hope that the Government can continue to commit to that.”
A review of the state pension age is due to be published before May with many expecting the plans for the rise to 68 to be brought forward.
The full basic state pension is currently £141.85 a week and £185.15 a week for the full new state pension
State pension payments will increase by 10.1 percent this April, with the full basic state pension going up to £156.20 a week while the full new state pension increases to £203.85 a week.
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