WASPI woman says ‘confidence in gutter’ after state pension age change

Many women born in the 1950s saw their state pension age changes from 60 to 65, and subsequently 66. While large numbers do not take issue with age equalisation with men, some have argued they were not provided with ample notice and have suffered financially and emotionally since.

One woman, who only wished to be referred to as ‘Annie’, said a series of personal tragedies had further impacted the difficulty of a changing state pension age.

Annie told Express.co.uk how her personal circumstances spiralled some 34 years ago, after her mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

As well as working full time, Annie was caring for her parents, and juggling her bills, and she says she was rushed into hospital with heart problems.

Giving up work to care for her parents, Annie said she decided not to claim Carer’s Allowance as it meant her mother could lose out on the Attendance Allowance she had qualified for earlier that year.

However, she added: “Naively, and because of the stress I was under, I didn’t realise at the time this would affect my National Insurance contributions at a later date.”

When her mother passed away in 1994, and her father died 10 months later, Annie was left bereaved and struggling to cope.

She said: “Even if the 1995 Pensions Act had been widely broadcast, I would certainly have been oblivious to it. My head was all over the place.”

Annie’s personal life was dealt further blows with the death of her husband in 2016, and the death of her brother four months later.

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She said these bereavements caused her great emotional and mental distress, meaning at the age of 61 she was forced to give up work.

However, without the state pension she expected at 60, Annie stated she has struggled with her finances.

She said: “I was unable to claim any benefits, and I lived off an ISA my husband and I had hoped would support our pension when we retired.

“I am now surviving on £550 per month in a work pension, and the ISA will be gone by the time I officially retire. My confidence and morale are in the gutter.”

Annie argued she only received personal notification of a change to her state pension age two years before her 60th birthday.

By then, she says it was “too late” to sufficiently plan for a change in her retirement.

Annie stated: “I feel I should have had a timely and detailed notification informing me I would have to work another six years before I would get my state pension.

“All through my working life the DWP have informed me personally as and when my income tax code and contributions changed.  Why? Because this would affect my personal finances, and let me know that they would probably be taking more tax from my hard earned pay.

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“Yet, they did not see fit to inform me personally that I would be losing around £50,000 and would have to continue working for another six years.

“Surely, this change to my personal and financial well-being is of equal, if not greater importance as a tax change?”

Annie has stressed she has “no issue with the need for equalisation” but says she struggles with the “lack of notification from the Government”.

She added: “Imagine you were approaching your 60th birthday, expecting to end your working days, if, indeed you have a job, and then to find that you have to work another six years, or you now have to start looking for work?

“The injustice of how poorly we 1950s woman have been treated is appalling. You have to have been living with this injustice to fully appreciate its full implications.”

A DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “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.”

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