Women’s state pension age was moved to age 60 in 1940, and it remained in place 70 years, only starting to move upwards towards age 65 in 2010.
The 1995 Pensions Act made that change among other initiatives, and it is fair to say it didn’t really hit the news at the time. The trade press covered it and there were a few column inches in the business section of the daily newspapers.
So as long ago as 1995, women aged 40 and below might have realised that one of the longest-standing aspects of the retirement system, their pension age, had been changed.
The rise was phased in gradually, so that women born before April 1950 still retired at 60 and only women born after April 1955 retired at 65. But how were they to know?
In 2001, the government changed its computer systems so that when people asked for a state pension statement, it would contain – somewhere in the text – the year their pension would start to be paid.
But it wasn’t until 2009 that the government started to write to women affected by the change announced in 1995. Women born between 6 April 1950 and 6 April 1953 received letters between April 2009 and March 2011.
Women were therefore being told just before age 58 that their state pension was to be paid from age 63, not age 60: just over two years’ notice of a reduction in income of around £18,000 (based on state pension of roughly £6,000 a year).
Worse was to come, though, as in 2011 the government extended state pension age even further for women born after April 1953. The government proposals added up to two years’ additional delay before certain women received their state pension.
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