One of the most controversial issues about pensions in recent times has been the increase in women’s state pension age, and that those affected were not given enough notice of the change. Daniel Holman, Liam Foster, and Moritz Hess find that particular groups of women were less likely to be aware of the change, and explain the key policy implications that arise.
Having planned your retirement around the date you will receive your state pension, and then being told two years prior that you will not in fact receive it for another six years can represent rather an unpleasant shock. That is exactly what happened to Marilyn Byrne, an NHS nurse for over 20 years. As a result, Marilyn was unable to make up for the shortfall in her finances. Apart from the financial effects, research now also tells us that this disruption likely impacted on Marilyn’s health and wellbeing. To varying degrees, 2.6 million women were affected by the change to the state pension age.
An issue that seems to have been relatively ignored so far is that some groups of women were much less likely to know about the change than others. Based on analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, we have shown that it is more socioeconomically disadvantaged women who were less likely to know about the change. In 2006/7, for example, 80% of women with low levels of education knew about the upcoming change compared with 92% of women with high levels of education. Those out of the labour market, ethnic minorities, and unmarried women were also less likely to be aware.
Why does this matter? In a nutshell, given the effects of not being aware on health, wellbeing, and financial planning, it is likely that the late notice women received about the change to the state pension age likely exacerbated existing inequalities. Women in already disadvantaged positions were likely to be further disadvantaged. Firstly, it is evident that women receive a smaller pension in retirement than men – £145 vs £194 for men in 2014/15. This is driven by women not having the same opportunities to save as men given gendered lifetime work and family histories. This is especially true for women in lower socioeconomic positions given their lower earnings. Further, these women are less likely to be able to afford increasingly expensive childcare, leading to breaks from the labour market therefore significantly affecting pension income.
Some commentators have noted that knowledge about changes to the state pension age was widespread well in advance of its implementation. As a result, Ross Clark writes: ‘I still fail to comprehend why so many seemingly intelligent and switched-on women can claim to have been unaware of this change until recently’. Although public information campaigns are to be lauded, it seems reasonable that for a policy change that has such fundamental effects on the experience and trajectory of a person’s life, that those affected should be directly told about it well in advance. Further, the inequalities we highlight problematise the idea that lack of knowledge of a policy change is just a matter of personal inefficacy.
In fact, these inequalities, along the issue of notification, are part of a much wider issue about the pension system, and the ability to understand it, that affect men and women alike. In a word, pensions are complex, and have become increasingly complex in recent years. With concepts like defined benefit, defined contribution, auto-enrolment, tax relief, and drawdown to understand, and myriad of schemes, it is no wonder that even the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane recently said that he finds the pension system confusing.
Given that the Bank of England’s chief economist probably has the advantage when it comes to numeracy and other cognitive abilities compared to most of the rest of us, and that we know these abilities are socially patterned in the population, it seems likely that these factors might help to explain the inequalities in awareness to the state pension age that we have described. In our study this was indeed the case, with numeracy, for example, explaining around half the association between socioeconomic factors such as education and occupational class and awareness.
Taken together, the points we have raised have a number of important policy implications. Firstly, governments should make a concerted effort to ensure that all citizens are informed of changes to the state pension age. This is especially important in relation to policies surrounding pensions because they are integral to and have wide ranging consequences for people’s quality of life, wellbeing, and financial security in older age. Recently, John Cridland has suggested a minimum of 10 years’ notice is required. Secondly, the fact that inequalities are at least partly driven by disparities in numeracy and other cognitive abilities suggests that it may be necessary to target and tailor awareness campaigns to particular demographics. Awareness and information campaigns targeted and tailored by workplaces might be one useful avenue. This might help to address the issue that cognitive factors, as well as structural constraints, influence people’s capacity to internalise, remember, and act upon news of a policy change. Future large-scale policy changes should pay attention to these nuances of inequality. Lastly, it is also apparent that the pensions system is still too complex and needs to be simplified. In order to try to ensure fair and equitable ageing for all, policy mechanisms that could exacerbate later life inequalities need to be carefully considered.
Note: the above draws on the authors’ published work in Ageing & Society. This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number ES/P000177/1) under the project EXTEND: Social inequalities in extending working lives of an ageing workforce (for more information see here).
Daniel Holman is Research Associate at the University of Sheffield.
Liam Foster is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy & Social Work at the University of Sheffield.
Moritz Hess is a post-doctoral researcher and head of the research unit “Work, Economy and Technology” at the Institute of Gerontology at the Technical University of Dortmund.
All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image credit: Pixabay (Public Domain).
I was born in May 1957. I’ve known about the increase in the pension age since it was widely discussed in the media when the bill was passed into law. I wasn’t pleased but it is fair. Since then it has gone up another year for me, again widely covered in broadcast media. So, I’m 63 and still working. It is what it is. I don’t understand how people didn’t know.
I was born in 1957 have worked most of my life only taking short breaks while having children. During my working life I did not experience equality in any way shape or form. My earnings and conditions of work have never been equal to men. Yet I have over 42 years fully paid national insurance. I was aware of the increase in pension age through the media however I have never received anything in writing. I feel completely cheated and very angry.
First I knew about the changes were on social media 😠
I am 63 and have worked and paid into the system since I was 16. Having had a stroke 2 years ago which has left me with both physical difficulties and acute mental health issues. I struggle every day and have thoughts of suicide as I just can’t continue like this. I had no letter and wasn’t aware until I was 59 that I would not be getting my pension at 60. Women born in the 1950’s have had our pensions stolen. We paid in and now deserve to be paid out, those of us still around that haven’t died waiting.
I was born in August 1956. I received a DWP letter in July 2013 informing me of my new state pension age on August 2022. I was devastated. I’d heard rumours SPA was increasing, but not until 2020, thought it wouldn’t affect me as my pension was due in 2016. I divorced in 2010 and my ex’s private pension wasn’t taken into consideration. I started work at 16 and have 44 + of NI contributios, and planned all my life to retire abroad at 60. I feel so angry I wasn’t informed until just 3 years before I was 60. I would definitely made different financial arrangements if I’d known in 1995. 1950s woman have been treated abysmally. We mostly were stay at home mums or worked part time. We couldn’t have a workplace pension if part time until late 1990s. Women took time off work or unpaid leave to care for children or elderly relatives. Women were in lower paid jobs, devoting time to care for their families while men were able to climb the corporate ladder snd invest in lucrative pension schemes. There’s still a gender pay gap. 1950s have been discriminated against, plus not adequately informed on a decision of a 6 year delay of SPA decision, which drastically changed our way of life with many devastating consequences.
I worked for nhs since 1994,like the lady before I was never informed. Neither my employer or my union informed me I had an increase. Surly there was a duty to inform especially seeing it was an increase of 5 years. I have only had one letter approx 2 years before my 60 birthday to inform me another year was added but not 5 years prior.Under my nhs pension dated 2011 it called 1995 act a schem and then said I didn’t need to make any changes to my nhs pension. Not even a warning that 5 years have been added to my state pension why?
Why did we have to bear the brunt of waiting not only the extra 5 years but then another year for our pension when before us and after us all the rises on ages only go up by one year at a time.
We understand the need for equal pensions but we haven’t been treated equally.
As a woman born in 1955 I essentially lost £30k. For most it was impossible, in the time given, to make up that shortfall. I now understand that despite full contributions I will get less than a man! Having done more of the household tasks & childcare, retiring at 60 seemed more equitable – though men & women should retire at the same age. We should have had more information and notice – as previously posted HMRC could get in touch if we owed them.
The government has found funds for furlough schemes that will far exceed paying WASPIs their due.
Born 1955 ….. Never had any letters from DWP to state my pension age would be changed. Started work aged 15yrs 3months. Found out by word of mouth, Totally outrageous. So the women of my age are expected to work until age 66 …… 51 years shame on the Goverment.
I lost my private pension at my divorce in 2007 and then my state pension in 2012. I was born in 1955. Discrimination was part and parcel of my working and educational life. Now with the virus I have lost my only income from letting a holiday room. I have £77.00 in the world. I am in despair and tearful all the time.
I found out in 2007 ( 6 years before I was 60) & received my official letter in 2010. I was working full time at the time so kept an eye on my pension
IMHO when this change was announced in 1995 it should have been to affect the school leavers joining the workforce both male and female so they all knew they would be pension age 65 together after an equal education and equal opportunity work life. Not picking on a cohort of women who had already paid NI for 20 years. Then failing to tell them
So sad to read so many appalling situations I myself have become run down with stress and anxiety in my job role feeling exchasted and ready to go but no I’m 63 how will I survive will have to work poorly
Thank you Daniel, Liam and Moritz for your interest and article that maintains the profile of the injustice imposed upon Waspi women.. As a Co-founder of the Waspi Campaign I hope this clarifies our purpose. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.s/evidencedocument/work-and-pensions-committee/understanding-the-new-state-pension/written/25211.html
Can we not sue take the government to court? They have left women who had caring duties with nothing.
I could not find the link to read
Born 1955 received no letter from DWP re SPA increase found out age 55 way too late
Surely there is moral obligation from Gov.ie some duty of care to us 50s women . I was widowed 1998 had 3 small children so working life reduced.
Worked SRN have small NHS pension now on UC as at nearly 65 but had enough
We should have our pensions
appalling treatment of hard working women
Born in 54 expected pension at 60 had no letter or prior knowledge now out of work my husband who is in I’ll health must carry on working to support me not even allowed a bus pass truly been robbed by our country of origin DISGUSTED
Born in 54 in the early 90 the company l worked for made us aware the SP would be changing,no mention of how it would change. They recommended we joined a working pension to top up the SP so I did. I took redundancy in 2020 as the work moved to another country. From the age of 60 l have received a works pension of £80 per week hardly enough to live on it will greatly reduce when l am 66 and hopefully receiving SP this means I will have to work at least until I am 66 l feel robbed
I was born 1947 and retired when I was 60, I knew for quite a few years that it was rising, can’t understand how these women didn’t, I was just a shop assistant.
You were fortunate then. To retire at 60. I am 62 still working. age but medically retired. Potentially I could be made to look for work. as I get working age benefit with pip. Also my husband is seven years younger than me. I understand new rules in will disadvantage couples where one is younger.
I will tell you why 1950’s women didn’t know it was because in 1995 SPA was set to rise from 2020 in stages
Up to 2038. Never was there any mention of bringing it forward not once but twice hence 1950’s women who wouldn’t have been affected suddenly with 2 years notice found themselves scrabbling to salvage all their plans. Also if your just a shop worker you would have known the whole story not just a tint bit.
The reason we didn’t know was because no one received a letter telling us of the changes. I found out age 58 that I would have to work nearly 6 years extra
Paid NA since I was 16 had 3 children still paid… Wasn’t aware a wouldn’t get state pension at 60….me and my husband were both working.. Had enough…. Sold up paid off mortgage and moved to the other side of world.. To work hard all your life never claimed anything always paid our way… Its disgraceful…
HMGov website said women’s retirement age was sixty on January 2016 so was left up so women did not know state pension age had increased
Exactly right and some leaflets reported that it would be 65 in 2020 not ‘by’
I had no letter about my pension. We had to sell our house and rent close to son as I was poorly and my husband had a stroke. I believe this should never have been allowed to happen and we already have a meagre pension as to loose so much is criminal we don’t protest like other countries we will never be baby boomers and we have scrimped to get by.Could a MP survive on£500 a month?? Disgraceful
Advised by letter i would receive my pension when 61.5. Nothing since but now know this figure was a mistake as I must wait until 65.5!!!! Paid in for 46 years.
I didnt know i had to wait im 64 in 2 days should be enjoying retirement i was not notified no letter nothing i have to rely on my partener to keep me its discracfull that we have been treated this way.
I’ve just turned 60. Never received any letter from the government about when I can retire. I’ve worked full time since 16 year’s old. I’ve paid my dues and I’m disgusted by the treatment we women have been dealt. I see so many injustices in society, but this beats the lot.
I did not receive a penny when I turned 60 years and this went on until I was 62 years and 6 months. This caused me a lot of health issues living only on my husbands pension, put a lot of stress on my husband and myself…. THIS IS NOT FAIR AS I LOST JUST OVER £20K caused a lot of heartache.
Never had a letter . Finished work at 59 to look Fter my sick hubby. Didn’t get my pension till I was 62 and 6 months . Never heard anything till I phoned pension department when I was 59 1/2 to apply for my pension .shock horror and hardship then kicked in . Still Ngry now and I am 67 how and why did nobody warn us women??
Never recieved any information I’m nearly 62
I got told I would retire at 64yrs and 10 months this is coming up in January had no word from the pension folk and found it unfair that we still don’t know when we will be elegible to retire I am in a job that entails moving stuff and I am finding it harder each day. I feel the people who are making these desisions don’t realise how difficult some jobs can be. Also the longer we work the less chance young people have of getting a full time position
Is it beyond the realm of possibility that we expected an individual letter, to the hmrc address linked to our National Insurance reference address aka our tax code address….and its nothing to do with our IQ….occupational pension schemes keep people updated regularly why not the Government.
I was 62 on Tuesday and have yet to receive any official letter. I know we moved 4 years ago but I can’t be that hard to find. I had to leave work for ill health reasons aged 54, I only found out age 58 when I contacted HMRC to find out about claiming my pension that I will have to wait until I am 66 and 3 months before I can have my pension. I am so incensed about this. The Government has treated women so badly its disgraceful. I am one of those who unfortunately probably won’t make it to my pension. So it’s win win for the government as they get to keep it. Now we know why they have raised the age without informing us. Xx
I was 65 on November 26 1 work for the NHS I started there in aprii 1989 so by the tlme I can retire next November I will be nearly at deaths door I am really struggling now especially as they have increased my dayley hours to 12 and half by the end of my shift I an hardly put one foot in front of the other we are all ways short staff and when we are fully staffed they take a health care and send her to work in another part of the Trust no wonder no one wants to work for the nhs I have seen many changes in my time but the worst is enforcing these long care forcareshifts people can’t get child care. Or care for elderly relatives.
The only notice we were given were adverts featuring two dogs talking on a beach and another picturing a Monopoly board – who on earth would have realised these were notification of an increase of up to SIX years in SP age! Misleading and disrespectful. Calculated to confuse!
I have never received any notice of the age change, l was born in 1956, about 2014/15 one of my customers who worked for dept of works and pensions, told me that after many years working for them she had left as she was disgusted that people coming to work in this country were able to claim child benifits for their children and send it back in their own country. She told me that l possibly wouldn’t be getting any pension when l reached 60.
As l hadn’t received official notice to this effect l never gave it another thought, l had been working since I was 15, in fact I left school on the Friday and started work on the following Monday.
But how right she was, l am disgusted that they are saying that we were all told well in advance, all LIES. but what can you expect from a self serving government, with their salary, expenses and anything else they are taking, sometimes even stealing from the coffers, it’s just a case of I’m all right Jack.
I was the same born in1956 they said I would have to wait till aged 62 I thought i might manage that and heard no more. Now am told that I have to wait till 66 unbelievable
Born 1958 I have always worked.I worked in the pensions department during the years these changes were alleged to be advertised?I can honestly say I did not know about the increased 6 years until I was told by a colleague when I was 58 years! I was devastated.I continue to work with another 4 years to wait until 66 years old.I will then have worked solidly for 49 years 🥵
I’ve been duped I never had the time for a top flight job. As for time out of work, I was told Home Responsibilities would be added to my retirement income+ a widow pensiion
I was born in 1956 Started work at 15 then trained to be a nurse had 2 chilldren went back to work when my first was only 6 weeks old.
Injured my back at work had to retire so retrained as a Health trainer and still working but can only work part time due to health problems.Just lost my Husband and now I’m going to have to manage on my own was on working tax credits but lost them as soon as husband died I’m off sick at the moment but feeling pressure to go back to work wouldn’t be in this position if I had my pension.Disgusting how we are being treated the Government don’t care.
I was born July 1954…worked from. Age 16..I am a single person with No other support..want to know when I was supposed to have been informed about the rise in my state pension..only found out by looking on line…did mine get lost in the post..still not arrived….what has happened to the £40.000 I have lost..do the right thing and pay us at least some of it back.so I can at least support myself when I eventually retire.still working when I should be enjoying my grandchildren while I’m able..I will be voting for the party who going to help..or no vote..
I was born in 52 and I was informed about a year or so before I retired, that I would have to work another 2+ years.
I can tell you I was, really, really p…..off! I was already planning my retirement and all the things I never got round to or able to afford. I had thought of setting up a business.
The unfairness in the retirement age is not just that both male and female retire at the different ages – it was the disparity in pay and consequently affordable pensions in the preceeding years. For many women they took lesser jobs so that they could work around family. I was a generational thing and entirely sexist in a male dominated society.
And the disparity in time out for family, and household chores and in parenting is not valued or considered.
The insistance by their male counterparts that joint tax returns was better – but for who in the long term?
None of this is taken into consideration.
It took a year for HMRC to calculate my actual pension. I had to insist that they add the married persons contribution to address gaps in pension.
And working before college was not included!
Until there is equality in society, in the workplace and pay and in raising a family – think the situation remains unfair.
This was all done on purpose. Ros Altman was a former pensions minister who warned Govt of the repercussions of this policy. In 2011?
Iain Duncan Smith said to ignore it….proving it has been completely planned. Steve Webb also.
They have ignored it…..and are STILL ignoring it.
They don’t understand the importance of this…nor do men.
Saying we don’t have to wait more than 18 months is also a lie.
They have picked on us full stop to gain from us end of.
It is a cruel social experiment.
Only the Govt can sort it…..if they only make that decision.
The UN and many other groups… even over 200 plus MP’s agree. So balls in their court.
I was born 1956 worked until I was 61 but i thought why I’ll get my pension but no so I got a pension from a factory were used to work it won’t last me until I’m 66 I suffer with bad arthritis as well swollen ankles can’t walk far either I don’t get nothing I’m single as wellx
I was born 1958, I have had no notification stating pension age going up, I thought I would retire at 60. I’ve worked all my life since 13 , doing shop work every night after school seven days a week untill I left school at 16. I then worked full time, had my kids then back to work as wages weren’t that great so we had to work. I now suffer fibermyalgia and in a lot of pain, working in care sector doing 60+ for last ten years has taken its toll on my body. I was made redundant in December last year, took on another care job but just couldn’t cope and was very sick, doctor signed me off so gave that job up. Sent for medical from DWP found fit for work. Now had to take job in care again as at my age all that’s available. It’s very intense, so on my days off I’m in bed because of pain, at this rate probably not see a pension. This government are so cruel. It’s disgusting.
Born in 1958, worked from 16, took time off to raise kids, looked after mother with dementia, I was looking forward to retirement to have a rest and live on pension I had worked so hard for, like many others here. I didn’t see any notification about changes. How can this govt sleep at night knowing what they are putting us through. Why is there no support put in place to help with the 6 year gap, we are left hanging on. Dreadful, govt should feel so ashamed of themselves over this. !!!!!!!
I am 62 and found out I would not get my pension until I was 66 when I was 57 as a consequence of talking to other women. I actually could not believe and to some extent still cannot believe that I and thousands of other women are being treated in this way by a so called Western democracy. The feeling of powerlessness is overwhelming. There is no political will to right this very obvious wrong. If ever proof were needed that women born in the 1950’s are indeed ‘invisible’, this is it. It makes me incredibly sad as well irate.
I am of average intelligence, started work at 15 years of age right through to now and I was never informed about this change to pension age. Surely something as significant as this should have been broadcast far and wide long before it came into action. Displayed on notice boards in the workplace, newspapers, news broadcasts etc etc .
It was. It was in Kenneth Clarke’s first budget in 1995. I remember discussing it at work at the time, as my solution was to reduce the male retirement to 60, and get the jobless youth into work.
i have to agree with you wholeheartedly! Why didn’t government either at least take the retirement age down to 60 for all? As you say get people without jobs into work. Otherwise, could a compromise of retirement age , say 63 years for all have been possible? We have been and still are living in a male dominated society and I for one are absolutely sick of it. It’s still going to take years of this hideous inequality to change. People wake up!
I was born in April 1956. Worked since I was 17. When I was 59 I heard about increase in pension age through a work colleague. I phoned DWP to be told this was the case I would be working until I was 66. Apart from working and bringing up my daughter I have cared for my mother for the past 8 years who has dementia. She has recently had to go into a nursing home through deterioration. I am so tired and totally furious and disgusted any government has allowed this to happen. We gave worked hard, brought our children up and looked after elderly relatives. How dare women born in tbe 50’s be treated like this. We deserve better.
The changes were on the news almost every day, it does not affect me but I knew all about it. I think these women are being vexatious, they could not possibly have missed the e frequent discussions on all forms of media.
Regarding your message alan sayin it doesn’t affect you well how lucky you are how would you feel if your one of 1950s woman who payed in since the age of 16yrs never claimed benefits have had cancer and other bad health problems and being told you have to work another 6 yrs before we get what we have payed its not the governments money its are money which we have worked hard for six years and I never got told r received no letter any how in them days us woman never stopped bringing up are children working running a home looking after parents what time did we have to sit and read papers the government stated they sent letters to all the 1950s woman but I know they didn’t we have all been robbed of are money by this government they cant take what isn’t theres in the first place it are money which we all worked very hard for so come on government dont think we are goin away we will fight you til the end until we get justice
I wonder what these men would say if the boot was on the other foot, they had 6 years added to their pension age, I didn’t know my pension age had gone up until my sister told me, her pension age is the same as mine, Nobody I know had letters and I didn’t see any information either
No it wasn’t as is stated in this article.Adding 6 years to a pension age should require a personal letter and these were NOT sent despite what the DWP say.They still haven’t been able to prove they were sent.
You are so wrong. I was a Home Carer for 15 years, had no outside contact with anyone only a bedridden Mum, l was not informed and never received a letter or any notification from the DWP even though they pay my £68 a week Carers Allowance. Another retired selfish male l expectl
I was born in 1957. When I started working at 16, I was told I would be a pensioner in 2017 aged 60. This was engraved on my brain. I was informed it would be 63 a few years ago. That I felt I had to accept, I would get my and my employers contributions a few years later BUT to erase 2017 and replace it with 2023 and make me wait for SIX YEARS is an utter disgrace!
I only found out staged 57 that I couldn’t retire at 60 ……..if I had been the only one that said I didn’t get any letter I could understand the argument that many seem to voice about we should all know ias it was widely broadcast ………but come on how is it that so many thousands and thousands and thousands of women are wrong
I almost feel like its my fault for not knowing earlier about pension changes after all I am one of those,from a a socioecconomicly disadvantaged background apparently, working and taking care of my own children, a weeks holiday at Pontins every year for the kids. My children have grown up now and working, I am tired now, want to look forward to my pension but it is no longer a right but a priveledge
Well, I must have been in a coma for many years, I just did not see or hear anything about this until I hit 60 and found out I could not get my pension. For the years 2000 to 2010 I was dealing with deaths in the family, and caring for my terminally ill Father, who wished to die at home. I did not have the time or interest to watch the news, or read the papers, but I did open & read my letters.I did not receive a personal notification. I have friends who are my age, we lead very differing lives, but they were not aware of this change until it was to late either. So one has to ask, where were these notifications? If, as one other contributor has stated, ‘research shows there were over 600’ . With regard to Ross Clark’s comment,of failing to comprehend how the women affected can claim to be unaware, you need to do more research Ross then maybe you will comprehend. I am sure if you contact the Ladies who make comment on the several sites concerning this matter, they will be happy to enlighten you.
Lin Please look after yourself it’s very upsetting to read your message I was born in 1954 and never got a letter or told nothing I found out when I contact them to see how much i was getting at 60 and to be told you have to work another 6 years to get anything in that time I have had breast cancer and a mastectomy and other health problems but we are not letting this government win it’s the money we payed in over the years I started work at 16 and never signed on it’s just a disgrace we will keep fighting until we get are money back so promise me Lin don’t wish that you was dead I have joined the waspi women and what they have done is fantastic all us women need to fight together and we are not going away until we get justice God bless you lin we are all here for you XXXXXXXX
I was born 1957 looking forward to my pension worked from 15 never received any notification I wasn’t getting my pension till I was 66 it’s a disgrace the government should do something about this they always find funds for everything else why not our pensions we have all been to robbed
I never received any notification that my pension age had gone up. It’s a disgrace and I am riddled with arthritis and can’t work another 6 years !
Born 1958, I took out a mortgage in 2002 after divorce and made sure payments would be finished by retirement age at 60. I had no idea the retirement age was being raised for women. I received notification age 58….” happy birthday you’ll receive your pension in November 2024 “. I have had juvenile idiopathic arthritis since the age of 2. I’ve had multiple operations throughout my life but have managed to maintain working part time. However, I’m now 61 and feel completely worn out, lots of joints complaining!, I’m fortunate, I guess that my 85 year old mum is still well and doesn’t make too many claims on my time and energy. I also recall Mrs May addressing women’s concerns about the raise in pension age, and she said no-one has to work more than 18 months more than their original retirement age….. ?.. I beg to differ!
I was Diagnosed with. Leukaemia 13teen years ago I have worked from the age of 15 full time and part time after having children .What right have they got to stop our pension.This is stopping me from having a better life ,not knowing when things could change drastically. It’s despicable I feel so sorry for all the people who have written in all their hopes and dreams gone out the window.
Born in 1955. Late teens I remember arguing for equal pension rights for men.
Started work at 15 and provided care to disabled son and father with dementia. I was never informed of the state pension changes despite only living in two addresses. 45 years contributions. Hobbled around in a demanding job due to arthritis and needed two knee replacements. Husband finished work due to care needs of son and me having a higher earning potential.
He was diagnosed with a heart condition which the strain of our son’s caring needs exacerbated. I had to give up work and I now care for him and our son. I have no income other than the carer’s allowance (which was taken off my husband at the age of 65) and for the last year I have had to live off savings which will be the case for another 2 and a half years.
I feel cheated.
Having read most of the comments made by WASPI, women it appears we all have similar feelings, of unjust acts being served on our generation, already feeling down trodden by mainly male dominated environs where we worked, but not paid equally.
I was born in the late 1950’s, having worked most of my adult life until, I had a massive nervous breakdown, which impacted on my life in every aspect you can imagine. Eventually, giving my (much loved) job up, due to ill health. (I can’t remember being sent a letter advising me of changes in the pension structure), I have brought two boys up (after divorce – also, not able to gain from ex husbands pension pot), looking after family members through various family issues. I feel, our generation has been grossly mistreated, hopefully, with all the good work being done by various groups, backing from numerous MP’s (cross parties) justice will prevail, and re instate our rights to State pension.
Why would I lie about not knowing? What possible purpose would that serve? Born 1955, I received a letter from DWP at age 58. I live this experience as a ‘medically retired’ woman now aged almost 64 (self employed 36 years). Scandalous behaviour from govts. Beyond anger & outrage.
The DWP claim to have placed advertisements in certain periodicals and newspapers advising of the forthcoming SPA changes, as far back as the late 90s. For as long as we have been married (almost 50 years) neither of us have subscribed to any form of written media that may have carried such information and I assume there are many other women and couples that fall into that category. However, it looks very likely that anyone who claims not to have seen anything in the press because they don’t read newspapers, will have their complaint disregarded by the DWP purely on the grounds that because the info was published, it’s not the DWPs fault that you didn’t see it. More reason for the DWP to have written to ALL affected women in a timely manner and not for those women to find out when they requested a pension forecast just months before they were due to retire at age 60 that they would not be receiving their pension for another 6 years or so.
It’s not a claim it’s a fact. Research showed over 600 articles written about it during that period.
As in any act of Parliament it’s the passing that is notification.
Paul, you appear to be avoiding the point I was making which was not everyone reads the periodicals/newspapers the articles were published in and as such to ensure effective notification of the the SPA changes, they should have written individually to each woman and not left it to chance.
Born 1958 turned 60 in July never received any notice of change in pension age. Now have to work 6 more years for £164 per week. 44 years full contributions already paid will be 50 years working before i get pension.
Born April 1954 received letter from Dwp when I was 58 should now receive state pension when I am over 65. Made redundant 3 years ago living on savings which will not last although I am very careful with my money. I am really annoyed as I paid for financial advice in the early 1990s I was advised to check I had not paid reduced stamp received a letter from Dwp saying I hadn’t and as I have worked since I was 16 I would be entitled to full pension when I was 60. Based savings and personal pension on this
I got divorced in 2003, my ex hubby’s solicitor advised that I should not claim against his pension as I would be getting my DWP pension at the age of 60?
I was born in 1955 the first letter I received was in 2013 giving me 18 months notice, at the same time as I received the letter I was made redundant at 58 this was a shock as I’ve always worked.
Forty two years National Insurance means nothing, I’m all for equalising men and women but this was poorly thought out and implemented atrociously, why are the government not listening, shame on Theresa May she is the same age as most of us, but I forgot she doesn’t need the money.
I was born in 1957 did not receive any notification about the changes to my pension age. I worked for 25 years as a nurse, before I became ill. I then changed to admin work and managed to work for a further 6 years. I am now 61 years old and disabled. I have already lost 18 months of pension entitlement.
I don’t think it is fair that women have to work extra 3 years I was born 1959 and worked all my life ..paid for my own child care out my earnings .I’m 60 next year I would love to retire I did take private pension out with bank when 30 which get next year few thousand not gonna keep me till get state pension or w work pension. Need to bring it down ridiculous they hoping we d not make it most of us won’t.saving loads Money is it true what I he a rd if you die your family has one year to claim on your money paid in x
Born 1955, letter when aged 58. Entirely unexpected. Very difficult living situation, working abroad for very little money, sad, depressed and feeling utterly betrayed. Very concious of the appauling suffering of many 1950’s born women. When you’ve worked 40 odd years, brought up children, cared for parents… you are worn out! I feel like Lin, cannot imagine how I will work another three years. Join the fb groups Lin for some support from those of us who entirely understand. Wishing you all the best.
I was born in 1957 and was always told and worked towards my State Pension at 60. I even retrained at Iniversity and rang to pay my NI contributions. What a shock I had when in 2011 I found out ….only because I started a new job to get my Pension forecast. On receipt of this letter I found out that my pension was not to be received until I was 66!!! I have paid 45 years NI at full stamp. This has meant that now I have to continue working if I can even though my health is starting to deteriorate …new hip and arthritus. Have I not done enough? I want to enjoy a retirement whilst I can BUT still struggle to go to work.
I was born April 1952. I found out on my 60th birthday that my pension was being stolled by 2 years and a month. I found out by telephone as that day I excepted to start receiving my pension and it wasn’t in my back account so I enquired where it was. Then told the above. Now tell me that was fair. You can’t can you.
I was born 1955.. Worked full time until I had my family, then part time.. Never received any letter and expected to receive my SP aged 60.. I phoned DWP three months before my 60th birthday to apply and was told that I had to wait until my 66th Birthday.. I am single, no other income apart from my earnings and am doing four cleaning jobs at almost 64..
I have never had any notification of the change in date for my pension, I was born in 1956, live abroad but return every six weeks to do live in care here in the UK 21 days without a break, worried sick that if I fall sick I will have no safety net as I am not eligible for benefits here in UK. Arthritis gives me painful hips and hands. I have worked all my life at low income jobs with no pension provision, I moved abroad so that my state pension would go further. Wish I had chosen to move to another European country when I was young, given the eye watering differences in state pension in Germany or France to the UK!
Born N ok bember 1955, I was notified 18 months before my 60th birthday that I would have to wait a further six years for my pension so, no time to make alternative arrangements. I have worked since age 15. My husband is dead, my savings are gone and I am tired.
I was notified 18 months before my 60th birthday that I would have to wait a further six years for my pension so, no time to make alternative arrangements. I have worked since age 15. My husband is dead, my savings are gone and I am tired.
I didn’t get to know till 2011 2years before my birthday that my retirement age would be 62 instead of 60 then in 2013 they increase my pension age to 64 and 6mths I have received my pension a miserly £23.40 yes I stupidly paid a married women’s stamp thinking I’d rather have the money for my children not the government how wrong was I paying 45 years and for what not even the money I paid in fgs the what happened they change all the pension rule this April just before I retired well I say retired I’m still working why who can live on just £23,40 a week!!!
I hope you see this Brenda! If that’s all you get in SP, you should be eligible for pension credit, this will bring your amount up to the the minimum amount of £163pw now, increasing to £167.25 from April 2019! If you get PC you are automatically eligible to housing benefit, council tax help, and cold weather payments (on top of winter fuel allowance) So, You SHOULD be able to retire! Here’s a link about claiming pension credit Good luck! https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit
Lets get something right here, very few people had access to the internet 10 years ago on the scale we do now, the place I worked wouldn’t allow us a computer with internet access until 2009, prior to that how many of us bought the Financial Times. I got my letter in 2013, telling me my SPA was no longer in 2016 but was now 2022, MY FA also checked in 2009 and it was still 2016. They say they do not need to write to us, yet they send my Dad a letter every year telling him what the new rate of his pension is, they don’t need to write and tell him that but they do. The truth is they decided, then realised it was a vote loser so buried their heads in the sand until Gideon who thought he was the big man decided to make matters worse and bring it forward, not only for 50’s women but for everyone after. My chidren’s SPA has now risen twice they haven’t had their letters yet either. But the facts are we did not leave school at 16 anyone born in late 1955 – early 1957 including men will work longer than anyone else in this age group because they left school at 15 but SPA is now 66, making it 51 years. If I was born late 1957 I would only work 50 years because I would have left school at 16, wheres the equalisation for that age group? The whole thing is a mess, it should have been bought down for men to 63 and equalised for women at 63 instead everyone is being made to suffer, and it will just get worse. Never forgetting the life expectancy stopped going up in 2010 and that comes from this governments own research people.
I was born August 1955. I had no idea of any pension change until October 2012 when I received a letter informing me, so giving me less than 3 years notice. My husband, also born August 1955, received a similar letter at the same time, informing him of the increase in his pension age, a fact he was also unaware of.
I was amazed that you found a minimum of 82% of women affected knew about the pension age changes as this is not what my (admittedly not scientific) experience of talking to women in a number of pension injustice groups indicates. As a woman born in 1955 I left school at 15 and immediately started work. I married at 17 (but chose to pay standard NI not the lower married woman’s rate) and had two children in quick succession but returned to p/t work as soon as I could. I eventually returned to education and became a social worker. My marriage ended in 1993 and my divorce took place in 1995. I was offered an early retirement package in 2010 and, still believing I would get my state pension at 60, I decided to accept. Retirement advice was offered to all those taking EVR but at no time was I told the State Pension Age had changed. My employment by the local authority ended on 31/12/2010.
Due to my much reduced income I decided to downsize from my 3 bedroom terraced house to a much smaller 2 bedroom in early 2012. In October of that year I received a letter from the DWP informing me of the 2011 changes (and, of course, obliquely, the 1995 change). I was astonished and appalled as instead of getting my SP in spring 2015 I wouldn’t have it until 202 !
I now have 3 p/t jobs to supplement my small occupational pension until I get my SP. I am not unintelligent and I have tried to keep informed about current affairs but I did not know about the change(s). Since joining waspi and, subsequently, WPIYPO, I have met many, many women, from all walks of life (including 2, incidentally, who worked for the DWP !) who had never been informed of the changes.
I deeply resent being portrayed by some commentators (and trolls on social media) as either a greedy baby boomer or a knowing liar or both. As I am a woman born in the 50s I have suffered inequality and the gender pay gap (and fought these things as an active trade unionist) for much of my life and for this generation of women to be subject yet again to a gross injustice is unforgivable.
I was born in 1953 and, as with many others, was not notified of the change. I’m not convinced
that socioeconomics are responsible for people not being aware, so much as life circumstances.
If your husband leaves so you’re bringing up children alone, holding down a full time job, and
trying to support elderly parents, reading/watching the news was low priority. And I certainly didn’t
think of asking if my pension date had changed … why would I? It had been the same all my working
life (and longer)!
I first heard rumours back in ’95 – so I called DWP to find out what was going on, I was told that I would have to wait an extra 6 months to get my state pension. No-one said anything about five or six years. ‘October after your 60th birthday’ I was 40 – 6 months didn’t seem so bad. In 2011 I heard that I would have to wait an extra 18 months, just on some news programme I think. When I called DWP I was told ‘ it isn’t set in stone – it may not happen’ Coming up to my 60th birthday in ’15, I asked for a pension forecast, it was only THEN that I discovered that I would have to wait until I was over 66 years old.
I was born In 57, I heard that I wouldn’t get too retire through chit chat with other females about 4 years ago. I am a single female who at present is suffering from sciatica and cannot afford to be off sick from a job that is exasberating the problem, I have arthritis in my hands and legs. I won’t be able to retire at 66 because I can’t live off the meagre pension that the government thinks is fair.
I am a support worker caring for folk that are not much older than myself. I am disgusted to put it lightly
Born December 53 girls in the same class as me have retired and receive their pension because they had birthdays earlier in the year,I’ve worked since I was15 I’m still waiting for my letter, my husband worked until he was 59 when he passed away, no widows pension , no equality in pay, no free child care , we have been robbed out of our money
Born 1956, made redundant in 2015 aged 59. I am now a carer for my disabled daughter, ill husband and elderly mother who is housebound. Saving the government thousands of pounds if any of them didn’t have me to help! All I want is the pension that I PAID for, no more no less ,at the time I was contracted to receive it. i.e 60, The government also sneaked in the changes to Pension Credit i.e both partners must now be of pension age to claim it, and the fact that we will not receive any of our husband pension if they don’t live until we are 66. This is a national DISGRACE!
I was born Sept 54. I have worked for 22 years in total for the local authority. I was made redundant in 2007 and was re employed in 2008 by the same authority. Unfortunately, again in 2010 I was at threat of redundancy and had to find another job quickly in front line social services in a challenging child protection role dealing with people with mental health, drugs and alcohol issues. I found it difficult, being much older than my peers but did the job to the best of my ability as I thought at that point I would be retiring at 60 in 2014.
Later that year, my first born son tragically died suddenly which absolutely floored me and pulled the rug under my feet. It was hard but I just kept thinking just 4 more years. (Little did I know it was 10 at that point.
I did not get a letter at all. I found out when I logged onto the DWP website in 2012. I was shocked to hear that it was not two years I had to carry on working before I got my pension, it was in fact 8 years. I don’t mind telling you, I cried at that point.
I have had a lot of support from Murphy colleagues and that is what keeps me from looking for another job, but I was forced through mobility issues to take flexi retirement in March of this year age 63. It meant I would work just 3 days but has also meant a reduced works pension and a substantial descrease in salary. I rent my home and if I am made redundant now it means to me an insecure future with no means of supporting myself until retirement. However, I am considered luckier than some of my peers who are in extreme hardship. The lack of notice was an unfair blow to us all.
I was notified about the increase 2/3 years before I would reach 60. A few months later my husband aged 60 died suddenly. No widows pension for me even though he had contributed for 45 years and no state pension for him!! I am now 63 and can’t wait to reach 66 to receive some help. I also worked for 40 years!
I was born in February 56, I got a letter in 2013, 3 years before I retired. I am also ex emergency services, and was looking forward to retiring, but oh no, the government has seen to that, equality, what bloody equality, men only have to work an extra year, we have to work an extra 6.5 years before we get our pension. This concerns me as I don’t own a property, so how the hell am I going to live on £600 a month with rent to pay!
My job is already exasperating my arthritis, so how will I cope then. Its criminal what the DWP and the government have done!!!!!!! They can find enough money for Brexit!!!
I didn’t know. Nobody told me until I was coming up to sixty. I am now sixty four. I was outplaced from my teaching job because they couldn’t wait to replace me with cheap newly qualified teacher. I can’t get another job for which I am well qualified. Tooo old…too expensive…so I wait tables in a seaside cafe for minimum pay and glad to have the work because my teacher’s pension barely covers the bills. My husband divorced me by Scottish law so…no redress…and took his pensions with him. I live on about 6000K a year. That is pretty grim. I go without food. I can’t join in social events with my retired friends so I am lonely. I can’t afford nice presents for family birthday and Christmas. I know these are ‘first world’ problems but I paid into a system willingly because I thought I could retire at sixty and then volunteer and look after my 94 year old mother. I am just off my shift. My back and hip ache…been on my feet all day at others beck and call. I feel humiliated and really, really fed up. This was not the life I had paid for.
I simply cannot believe that in 2006/7 that up to 96% of women knew about the upcoming changes! PLEASE show me your research!
Thank you for talking about this issue. My husband and I looked at this a few years ago (maybe 2010) but the information we found said that I would not be effected and that I could expect my state pension at the age of 60 because those effected would get 15 years notice. Had we known we would have made alternative arrangements for me. As it is I find myself, a widow aged 60, job hunting with very little realistic hope of finding a job, with caring responsibilities for aging parents as well.
I had seen something about the debate in the 90’s but was under the impression the changes were unlikely to affect me. Pension statements from the Teachers Pension Scheme in 2005 were still indicating a 60 pension age. I was made redundant in 2008 and asked for a pension forecast that year, it was then I realised it would be a 65 pension age. I have never received any personal notification from the DWP at any time and still have not received any official notice, despite the fact it’s now 66. I used to lecture and was an active trade unionist, trade unions were also not informing women of these changes.
As a single mum with one of my four children still in education at the time of the SPA, I was earning the princely sum of £86 per week! How could anyone expect to put any sum aside to save. I am now 63 and work for minimum wage. I did 54 hours one week, in agony, only to be rushed to hospital with septicaemia. I spent a month in hospital and am now back working 12 hour shifts as a zero hour contracts worker. It takes me 2 days to recover from the shift and sometimes have to work the next day because I don’t know when the next shift may come up!!! I have arthritis in all my joints and just keep topping up with meds so I can earn some money.
I remember reading about the changes in The Guardian; however, I do not recall having received a letter from the government to confirm the pension age change. I am in the December 1954 group of women affected.
I am self-employed and pay the relevant National Insurance contributions. Although business is declining due to decreases in EU students and medical students in particular, following the Referendum result, I feel I can and I indeed I must manage for 2 years but the women in dire circumstances have my full sympathy. Any work that they can get is likely to be low paid.
I agree that there should be parity with men’s retirement age but a 6-year wait is truly out of order.
Please also take into consideration women, like myself who were going through dramatic life changes. In my case divorce. I had no notification about changes and even if it was published in national papers. I was not in a place to comprehend. Letters should have been sent.
I received the link to your research and blog via my contacts at Sheffield University, and as a WASPI woman born in the 1950s, with my State pension withheld until I will be 66 and a half (unless they change it again!), I was heartened to see serious research into the pension situation in the UK.
Your points about literacy, and access to information being hurdles for many, many women, and the effects of this mis-managed and accelerated change to women’s stage pension age is having and will continue to have on women’s health and wellbeing are so important.
Thank you for carrying out research into this truly iniquitous situation, and your external review of the whole state pension system. I anticipate that your research will influence policy decisions for future pensioners, but would also hope that the goverment will pay attention and offer the redress we WASPI women, who were so unjustly treated, are seeking.
If you were born in the 50’s your SPA is 66 not 66 1/2
Please read what they say. It’s what we all knew most people did know
. “In 2006/7, for example, 80% of women with low levels of education knew about the upcoming change compared with 92% of women with high levels of education.”
Born in 1955, No Letter, No Notice, No Pension. I work in mental health and have given many, many hours of my time freely, in the belief I would receive my State Pension at 60 and my finances would therefore be okay. I am now working full time because of this.
As said I have overseen the detention of those held under the Mental Health Act 1983. I worked in this area as a lay person. A very valuable and rewarding role but was paid £20 for overseeing an audit (half a days work) + mileage. If I was given notice I could have found alternative work when I was younger to compensate and save for not getting State Pension as I believed I would at 60.
Immoral. No integrity. Disgrace.
Born 1954 started work at 15 years old, left school Friday started on the Monday No gap year for me, as I was one of 7 children and had to contribute to the house hold . I was married at 19 had 2 children worked all my life paying full National Insurance and taxes nursed my dying parents with cancer to be told 2 years before retirement that I had to work a further 6 YEARS to get my pension that I had worked hard for We women have been sold down the river and the government don’t care this is how they treat the women of this country who have worked hard paid their taxes and supported the country and been kicked in the teeth. I was not allowed to have a pension when I first started work the government encouraged women to have lower stamp we were not allowed benifits for our first child and still we a treated with contempt It’s A DISGRACE THE WAY THE 1950 women are treated ??????????
Perfectly said Mary, well done
Look top & bottom of this story is nearly 3.9 million women have lost out on their pensions ,We were not notified by letter as stated ,I personally have never received any correspondence pertaining to any state pension ,i was told on the phone that i would not get a pension until 2021 this was in 2015 so i get nothing !!!!!!!!!!!
Steve Webb, Pensions Minister in 2011, has admitted he did not understand the consequences of the 2011 Act, ie that it would leave women born in one year (1953) reaching State Pension Age in 5 different years, 2015,16,17,18,19, at ages ranging from 62 years 8 months to 65 years 3 months. The many debates in Parliament in the past couple of years have shown that the majority of MPs still do not understand it.
I wasborn august 1954 i am 64 still suffering as ill health and dissability stops me frim working i was a carar for my 24 year old autistic son but suffer from ill health had to fight for benefits for 4 years which had made my mental health wiorse too worse
5 years in my life worked from 12 years of age had enough nsturane stamps to retire at 60 so amvery lonely and strugling thought i would be told of changes but didnt discusting so upset
I was born in January 1954 and I have received NO notification of the change in the Pension Age. I am well educated and read newspapers and I did not know about the change until 2011 when I had retired due to ill health.
I have no pension of my own as my ex-husband was a “mobile” Civil servant which meant we moved all over the country and I had no continuity of employment and therefore no pension!
I am living a very quiet life with no income and rapidly reducing savings.
I hope I die soon.
Lin that’s awful please stay strong, if you have fb please come join pension reform united group, we’re trying to fight this and support each other even if only virtually.
Keep your chin up. X
Lin I was born November 54 I really feel for you I do….. but please try and stay strong they are not worth dying for as Jean says there are lots of groups for support we are here for you…….I have a mind set that I am determined to live so long that they will have to pay me a lot more than they have stolen off me I will make them pay one way or another…it helps me stay strong….. take care xx