How pension changes have devastated women born in the 1950s

Anne Keen, Marion Smulders, Lin Phillips and Doreen Smulders

posted on 01 Jul 2015

This week we welcome guest bloggers Anne, Marion, Lin, Doreen and Celia, five women in their sixties who met online, and have used the power of technology to mobilise thousands of women affected by changes to the state pension age.

Have a similar story?: Get in touch with WASPI on  Facebook!

Ordinary women, extraordinary changes

We are five ordinary women, all born in the 1950s (on or after 6 April 1951). We’ve all experienced unfair and unequal treatment because of the way increases to our State Pension Age have been brought in.

These changes have affected many of us and our contemporaries in deep and difficult ways. But many of us felt powerless to do anything about it.

We spoke to lots of women who felt the same. One representative story is here. We collected several others, too.

Using the law

We are now hoping to use the law to protect our rights and achieve fairness and equality for ourselves and other women like us. We know we have a strong moral case but we’re not sure if we have a legal case. We are using CrowdJustice to raise funds for initial legal advice to help us assess what the legal options are.

We have spoken to lots of women (and their families) about this and they are excited that at last they feel they have an opportunity to try and change their situation —read possibly their only opportunity.

Read and listen to more of our stories here.

“I am 61 years old, born May 10th 1954. I receive my State Pension in 2020, four months off 66. This is 2 years after Anne (Keen, one of the authors of this post) receives hers, even though she is only 1 year older than me. It is also only a few months earlier than someone born in 1960 – 6 years after me.”

“I had planned to voluntarily delay my State Pension by 5 years in order to receive a taxable lump sum to finance my retirement. I received a forecast saying I would receive a taxable lump sum of £32,776.04. This formed an integral part of my retirement plans. Now the Government has imposed a 6 year delay on my retirement and has withdrawn the lump sum payment option. I have lost £32,776.04 of retirement income”.

“I was offered early retirement as a result of the Coalition’s austerity measures. Safe in the knowledge I would receive a state pension on reaching 60, I made the decision to finish work. I was shocked to find out I wouldn’t receive a state pension until I was 66. If only I had been notified, my decision to leave work would have been very different. It’s difficult to find work as an older person, ageism, albeit subtle still exists in the workplace. I have more than maximum contributions. The impact on me is considerable. It’s immoral. Dole queue at age sixty — who would believe that!! Working just hasn’t paid!!”

“Many of us are struggling on zero hour contracts, temporary jobs etc. until age 66. We are from a generation that on the whole have no other pension provision. When I started work women were not allowed into the pension scheme.”

At 62 “I have been sent on a Mandatory Voluntary programme… whatever that contradiction means;- had to borrow the money for bus fare, travel on 2 buses for an hour and a half each way. I have applied for over 2000 jobs on the Universal Jobmatch site.”

“I have had my state pension age changed THREE TIMES. Two of the changes were made after I had taken early retirement. Women born in the 50’s have been discriminated against and have been treated very badly in the changes. I believe we have been the worst affected group of all in the pension revisions.”

“I’ve been made redundant, I can’t tell you how degraded I felt signing on, I shouldn’t have to at my age, I’ve been in full time work (without any breaks) since the age of 17, I’ve paid in towards a pension all my working life, understanding throughout I would receive it at 60. I have to do voluntary work in a charity shop to get JSA. It costs me as I have to take two buses each way to the shop; I’m borrowing the bus fare as money is thin on the ground. I dread the future; it seems I’m being punished for working.”

“I am a 60 year old single woman. Personal circumstances mean that I need to move home. However, as I have no regular income (and can’t find a job) — the new mortgage rules mean that although, I want to borrow less than I currently do, the Building Society won’t lend me the money. I can’t believe that I have contributed over 40 years to the system and am in a worse position than someone a bit older who has contributed less — so worrying.”

“I should have received my pension when I was 60, I now have to wait until I am nearly 65 which means that I have missed out in over £35k despite the fact that I have worked all my life sometimes having to work 2 jobs in order to keep the roof over our heads.”

“Born Aug 1954 I have worked since 15. There was no private scheme for women with children working p/t. My age group have been hit hardest. My pension was 64, overnight increased to 66. Working women 2 years older are not paying NI contributions, so neither should I, I have paid my dues. My job is stressful and demanding. I won’t be capable of doing it at 66. Terrible treatment by the government.”

“I was born in 1957, started work at 16. My wife was born in 1956 and also started work at 16. For most of our working lives we were expecting to receive our state pensions at 65 & 60 respectively. Then we were told 66 for both of us. We also took early retirement and now keep our fingers crossed that our financial plans hold safe until it is supplemented by the state pension, something we have actually paid fully into, providing we do still have enough qualifying years to get it!”

I spent all my working life expecting my state pension at 60. Now it will be 66. If you take out an insurance policy they cannot change the maturation date so having “signed up” at the beginning of my working life I don’t expect the date to change part way through. Very difficult to put contingency plans into place with such short notice and such little time before retirement.”

“I have had my State pension date changed 4 times. I paid voluntary contributions up to my max of 30 years only to be told I now have to pay more for longer to receive full state pension. I look after a sick husband and have no opportunities to go out to work even if I could with my own health issues. It is wrong how we have been treated. I wrote to my MP and got nowhere. This is morally wrong and has hit the 1950’s women the hardest”

“Because my wife has been treated abysmally. As she already had planned to stop work but now doesn’t get the pension she was promised and has earned, I am having to work PAST my retirement date to help us keep our heads above water. I am 65 already, despite being 61 my wife won’t get a pension for another 4.5 years. Very very bad decision making.”

There’s a way we can come together to see if legal change is possible. WASPI’s crowdfunding is now over but you can visit their Facebook page to find out more. Thank you.

Have a legal case that could benefit from crowdfunding?

Start a case on CrowdJustice today.