Women in the dark over new pension age
Published on 16 June 2011 04:00 PM
Women in the dark over new pension age as MPs debate changes today
A new report by Age UK shows one in five women aged between 50 and 53 years old expect to receive their state pension by 60, yet in reality they will have to wait to 65 under current rules and 66 if proposals being debated by MPs today (Monday 20th June) go ahead.
These worrying figures revealed in the new report ‘Not Enough Time' shows that many women are not aware of the 1995 changes to increase women's state pension age (SPA) to 65, let alone current proposals in the Pensions Bill.
Women born between 6 April 1953 and 5 April 1960 will be hit twice by the current proposals to speed up equalisation of SPA to 65 by 2018 rather than 2020. SPA will then increase to 66 for men and women will by April 2020, six years earlier than planned. If passed the Bill will force 330,000 women to wait 18 months to two years longer to claim their state pension than under current rules.
The TNS survey showed 68 per cent of women said they were concerned about plans to raise the SPA. This is not just a matter of not wanting to work for longer - for many this is simply not an option. Results among these women showed nearly a quarter had health problems preventing them from working longer and 15 per cent were counting on receiving their state pension to give them more time to care for others, such as older parents, a sick or disabled partner or their grandchildren.
Age UK is concerned that the changes do not give women enough notice and time to plan their retirement. The survey of 519 women conducted by TNS for Age UK backs up Age UK calls for a minimum of 10 years notice of changes to the state pension age.
Yet women born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 will receive just seven years notice of a two year change to their state pension age. As the Pensions Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons today (Monday 20 June), Age UK is calling on the Government to stick to its Coalition Pledge and not start to increase SPA to 66 before 2020, giving women more time to prepare for the change. The issue has been gaining political momentum over the last few months and 175 MPs across all the main parties have signed the Early Day Motion against the speeding up of the equalisation of the SPA for women.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK said: 'Thousands of women have contacted us because they are extremely worried about how these proposals will affect them and very angry about the injustice of these plans.
'Many women who are facing an increase to their SPA have been working in low paid jobs since they were 15 or 16; some have had to stop working due to health problems; others were counting on retiring to carry out caring responsibilities. They have already had their state pension age changed once and this latest proposed change is one step too far by this Government. Telling these women, at short notice, that they now have to wait up to another two years to collect their state pension is unfair.
'Worryingly our survey shows thousands of women simply don't know about the increase to 65, let alone 66. This shows the scale of the communications challenge facing Government before any more changes are introduced.
'The Government is asking people to plan their retirement, but it's difficult to see how women can plan properly when the Government keeps moving the state pension age goalposts. Age UK is calling on MPs to stop the speeding up of state pension age equalisation for women and not increase it beyond 65 until after 2020.'
To get involved with Age UK's campaign against these changes, go to www.ageuk.org.uk/spa and lobby your MP
Use Age UK's state pension age calculator to determine when you will receive your state pension age, based on both the current and proposed legislation changes. www.ageuk.org.uk/spa-calculator
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Case study - Mari-Anne
Mari Anne is 57 years old and her husband is 60. They were both made redundant at the end of 2009 and although they are both consistently trying to find employment, remain unemployed.
Mari Anne suffers with a number of health problems which she has lived and worked with, although in 2010 she discovered she also has arthritis in her spine. Her husband is also not the best of health.
Mari-Anne said 'I just don't know what we are going to do as we are trying to live on benefits. Although we get help with our mortgage, it is only at 3.63% and our mortgage interest rate is 4.89%. It looks like we will lose our home which was intended to be our retirement home.
'We have worked hard all our lives and this has happened to us though no fault of our own. On top of this, we are caught up in this review of the state pension age. The Government must realise that we have paid our taxes and successive Government's have spent them without reserve - now they are claiming we are a burden on the state.'
Notes to Editors
- The report ‘Not Enough Time: What women think about increases in State Pension Age' is available from the Age UK press office.
- TNS Survey - TNS polled women affected by the changes in their Consumer Omnibus (The Pensions Omnibus Survey). They conducted face to face interviews with 519 women between 18 March and 5 April 2011. The women were aged 50 to 57,with a date of birth of 6/4/53-5/4/60 at the time of interview. The results were weighted to the population of Great Britain. More information about the survey is in the appendix.
- The Age UK online survey has been live on Age UK's website since the beginning of March 2011. The information in this report is drawn from responses from the over 2,680 women who had completed the survey by the beginning of June. Women affected by the changes were invited to tell us their date of birth, income level, number of hours worked, whether they had a private pension, and whether they were a carer or had health issues. They were also asked to explain how they would be affected by the proposed changes. Clearly the women completing this survey were aware of the changes and were likely to be concerned. Some were actively seeking more information but also in many cases trying to find ways to campaign to prevent a further increase taking place.
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