WASPI woman left surviving on savings after state pension age changes

Liz Truss grilled by WASPI woman on offering pension help

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The state pension age for women was changed from 60 to 65, and then to 66, impacting many right across the country. Some, such as the campaign group WASPI, have argued they were not provided with ample notice about the changes that would affect them and so have faced negative financial and emotional consequences as a result.

While groups like this do not want the state pension age to return to 60, they do wish to see “fair and fast compensation” for those affected.

Express Money spoke to Tina Burgess, 65, from Bedfordshire, who described her personal experience.

Mrs Burgess was born in London in 1956, and first started work at the age of 16.

Throughout her life, she worked in the private sector full-time, only taking time out to raise her children.

While she was looking forward to retiring at 60, six months before she expected to leave work, she received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Mrs Burgess explained the letter said her National Insurance contributions were some 44 years, but she would have to wait until the age of 66 to receive her state pension.

She said: “I received a letter saying they had decided to defer it for six years. My life has been blighted by this decision.

“My working life has always been in the private sector, so I was not invited to join a pension scheme at work until the Government insisted on it. It meant my pension pot was about £1,000.”

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Mrs Burgess also said it has been a struggle to secure work as an older person.

Working in a sales environment, the work was often stressful, and she struggled with exhaustion. 

She was dealt a further blow with a bereavement in the family, which only complicated her circumstances further.

Mrs Burgess continued: “We were always keen for equality, but not so we had to wait for six years.

“It was agreed the change would be introduced in stages, but that didn’t happen for those born in my birth year. It’s blatantly unfair. This is hardly equality.”

Many older people will be eligible for other forms of support, however, Mrs Burgess explained her age means she could miss out.

As she was born after September 25, 1956, she is not currently eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment.

It means she will miss out on the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment this year, which the Government states is worth between £150 and £300.

In addition, as she is not yet of the new state pension age, she also misses out on a free bus pass as well as other concessions targeted towards older people.

Mrs Burgess continued: “Currently, I’m living on my savings, and waiting for my pension due in December.

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“Unless personally affected, or a relative impacted, most people seem unaware we haven’t had our pensions.”

The 65-year-old is hopeful to see an alteration of attitudes towards the state pension age.

She hopes for compensation for those who have been impacted by the changes, and told they would have to wait for their state pension. However, she is also hoping the matter will be taken a step further, to help those affected.

Mrs Burgess added: “I believe a complete inquiry needs to be held about this disgrace. I am angry, upset and frustrated, but no compensation seems to be likely.”

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) is currently investigating the DWP’s communication regarding the changes, and last year stated the Department should have provided affected women with more notice about state pension age changes. The investigation continues, with stage two ongoing.

A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality.

“Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.”

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