WASPI campaigners set out 10-point plan

WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaigners have sent a 10-point plan setting out their demands for how the investigation into the issue should be investigated.

The activists are calling for compensation for a generation of women born in the 1950s who were affected when the state pension age for women increased from 60 to 65, to make it the same for men and women. The state pension age then increased to 66, and further changes lie ahead.

The campaigners claim they were not adequately notified and so did not have enough time to prepare for losing out on their state pension payments.

The group has had some success as the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman previously found the DWP should have written individual letters to those affected 28 months earlier than it did.

A second stage of the Ombudsman’s investigation found there had been maladministration by the DWP.

With the campaigners now awaiting a ruling about what should be done to rectify the issue, they have sent the Ombudsman a list of 10 steps about how they think the probe should proceed.

The 10 steps include:

  • Complete the investigation with a sense of urgency
  • Clearly and correctly identify when maladministration began
  • Clearly and correctly identify when maladministration ended
  • Reach a sound conclusion on what would have happened if women had been correctly notified of the changes to their state pension age
  • Make realistic findings on direct financial losses
  • Look at the lost opportunities for women to make different financial decisions
  • Properly consider the distress, anger and hurt of those affected
  • Take account of varying impacts based on circumstances
  • Reach conclusions in a fair manner including consultation with WASPI
  • Make compensation recommendations that are fair, fast and straightforward.

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The WASPI campaigners have urged its supporters to write to their MPs with the list of 10 demands.

The group said: “Some of us were already 58 when the DWP pulled the rug from under us by letting us know far too late that we could not retire and draw a pension at 60 but must instead wait until 66.

“By then we had taken life-changing decisions to leave work, often taking up caring responsibilities for our elderly parents, grandchildren or ill partners.”

Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey recently raised the issue during a session of Prime Minister’s Questions.

She asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak if he would commit to “fair and fast payment of any compensation”.

Mr Sunk said in response: “There is an ongoing process, which I cannot comment on, but rest assured that of course we will respond appropriately to any recommendations that come our way.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government decided over 25 years ago it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women.

“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.”

The state pension age is currently 66 for both men and women and is set to increase gradually to 67 and then to 68 over the coming years.

The full basic state pension is currently £156.20 a week while the full new state pension is £203.85 a week.

A person typically needs 30 years of National Insurance contributions to get the full basic state pension and 35 years of contributions to get the full new state pension.

An individual can check their state pension entitlement using a state pension forecast tool on the Government website.

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