Women’s state pension age increases have left thousands in poverty


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.

Source: Women’s state pension age increases have left thousands in poverty: financial futures | Money Observer

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18 thoughts on “Women’s state pension age increases have left thousands in poverty

  1. Anne Keen

    Thanks Mike for raising an awareness of this unfair implantation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts, that having shattered their retirement plans, have caused devastation and distress to hundreds of thousands of women.

    WASPI -Women Against state Pension Inequality” launched a petition on 20th October https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776 At the time of writing it has gathered 33,780 signatures.

    Please sign and share. Thanks
    Anne Keen – WASPI Co-founder

    1. casalealex

      There has been a government response to this petition as follows:

      Government responded

      State Pension age changes were first made in 1995. All women affected have been directly contacted following the changes. There are no plans to alter State Pension age arrangements for this group.

      ▼Read the response in full

      Firstly, to clarify, State Pension age (SPa) changes affect individuals in the following way:
      • Women born between 6th April 1950 and 5th April 1953 have an SPa set by the 1995 Pensions Act, of between 60 and 63. This group will reach SPa by March 2016, and will therefore receive a State Pension under the current system.
      • Women born between 6th April 1953 and 5th December 1953 have an SPa set by the 2011 Pensions Act, of between 63 and 65. The maximum increase in SPa that anybody will experience relative to the 1995 timetable is 16 months. This group will reach pension age after the introduction of the new State Pension.
      • Men and women born between 6th December 1953 and 5th April 1960 have an SPa set by the 2011 Act, of between 65 and 66. Of the approximately five million individuals affected by the 2011 change, two point four million are men. For women, the maximum increase in SPa relative to the previous timetable is 18 months and for men it is 12 months. This group will also reach pension age after the introduction of the new State Pension.

      Both the 1995 and 2011 changes followed on from public calls for evidence. The Government has notified the women affected by the State Pension age changes. Following the 2011 changes, DWP wrote to all those directly affected to inform them of the change to their State Pension age – using the address details recorded by HMRC at the time. Mailing to these individuals, due to reach State Pension age between 2016 and 2026, was completed between January 2012 and November 2013, subject to the accuracy of their address details with HMRC. Letters to women with a State Pension age determined by the 1995 timetable (born between 6th April 1950 and 5th April 1953) were sent between April 2009 and March 2011. The DWP also has information on State Pension age changes and who they affect on gov.uk. This includes State Pension age timetables, impact assessments (including an impact assessment for the 2011 Pensions Act) and a State Pension age calculator. In addition, the State Pension age equalisation changes were built into the State Pension statement IT system; introduced in 2001. Therefore, statements produced on request using this system would have included women’s new State Pension ages as determined by the 1995 Pensions Act.

      The Government will not be revisiting the State Pension age arrangements for women affected by the 1995 or 2011 Acts. The Government carried out extensive analysis of the impacts of bringing forward the rise to 66 when legislating for the change (impact assessment available at Gov.uk). The decision to amend the timetable originally set out in the bill, to cap the maximum increase at 18 months rather than 2 years, was informed by this analysis.

      All women affected by faster equalisation will reach State Pension age after the introduction of the new State Pension. The new State Pension will be more generous for many women who have historically done poorly under the current, two-tier system – largely as a result of lower average earnings and part-time working. Around 650,000 women reaching State Pension age in the first ten years will receive an average of £8 per week (in 2014/15 earnings terms) more due to the new State Pension valuation of their National Insurance record.

      Regular consideration of State Pension age is necessary to ensure the pensions system remains sustainable as life expectancy grows. The 2014 Act provides for a 6-yearly review, to take into account up-to-date life expectancy data and the findings of an independently-led review. The first review will conclude by May 2017 and will consider, amongst a number of other factors, the impact of State Pension age change on women.

      The policy decision to increase women’s State Pension age is designed to remove the inequality between men and women. The cost of prolonging this inequality would be several billions of pounds. Parliament extensively debated the issue and listened to all arguments both for and against the acceleration of the timetable to remove this inequality. The decision was approved by Parliament in 2011 and there is no new evidence to consider.

      Department for Work and Pensions

  2. Barry Davies

    Well of course women wanted equality, it’s a shame that they get the same retirement age when there is still lower pay for jobs traditionally seen as women work, an area that should be now be adjusted to make up for the pension changes.

  3. mohandeer

    I knew about it from my Union who informed all of us born after April ’55 anyone born after April ’55 does not receive state pension until age 66. Many works pensions are still as they were originally because only the government has the right to go back on their word and move the goal posts. Private pensions are bound by laws which protect the workers while the government can rewrite laws to suit their pockets, MP’s can now collect their pensions at age 60, so can judges, because the Tory Government wrote it into law. We’re all in this together!

    1. Bev

      Or the bus pass… also a lot of women have health issues at 60 + and either can’t get a job or even claim any benefits..so reliant on husband/partner . very unfair and unjust !!!

  4. Mr.Angry

    Just typical of the lack of respect or regard the Tory elite have for woman, you only have to look at the front bench. Must be one misguided species that ever married one of these freaks.

  5. philipburdekin

    These evil government doesn’t give a flying f***k about anyone else apart from THIER own. We need to rid our country of these scum. Asap

  6. Joan Edington

    This is a slightly misleading comment, although probably not on purpose. It is after 5th January 1953 for this year but will become after 5th January 1954 next year. It is not that they have stopped the allowance for folk born after 1952, rather that they have raised the age at which it can be claimed.

  7. Guy Ropes

    Do migrants who settle here get a full state pension when attaining the age relevant to indigenous folk and do they have to have been living here for a particular amount of time before they can receive it.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nobody can receive the state pension without having made National Insurance contributions for a considerable number of years (although I forget how many). It’s around 30-35 years’ contributions.

  8. Guy Ropes

    And Judges (referred to above) only contribute 2% of their earnings to their pensions. (Prime ministers questions last year).

  9. Carole

    Thank you for highlighting this issue. It’s a fact that some women have made terrible financial decisions such as taking early retirement due to caring for someone, or voluntary redundancy due to ill health thinking they’d receive their state pension perhaps a year hence, only to find the date has been moved. This has happened twice to us 1950s born women, with either little or no notification! Imagine if you paid into a private pension and without telling you, the pension provider decided to ‘delay’ it by upto 6 years. Appalling! Women are up in arms and fuming about this, so to everyone I say go and speak to your MP and sign the WASPI petition. Men will also suffer as if they expected 2 pensions to survive in retirement they won’t now have a wife receiving hers!

  10. Helen Jackson

    I can’t understand what is going on regarding the state pension retiring age for women.

    Way back in 1993 I watched the Tory party conference live on television. Ken Clarke, who was I think in charge of pensions and social security, clearly stated that he would raise the retirement age for women gradually, over a ten-year period, from 2010 to 2020. This was in order to phase it in gradually. Women would not have to retire at 65 until the year 2020. So why have the present government reneged on this agreement?

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