Money Wellness
Image of a clock with a calculator and a jar of coins saying retirement. WASPI Women. Compensation for women born in 1950's for pension changes
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calendar icon21 Mar 2024

Millions of women to receive compensation after unfair pension changes

Millions of women to receive compensation after unfair pension changes

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has recommended that the government should apologies and pay compensation to women affected when the pension age was increased to 65.

It found that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to adequately inform the women affected – those born in the 1950’s – that the state pension age has changed.

These women could now be entitled to compensation between £1,000 and £2,950 each.

However, this is far less than £10,000 campaigners and charities have been asking for.

The watchdog has also taken the unusual steps of asking Parliament to intervene in the compensation process as ‘to date, the DWP has failed to acknowledge its failings or put things right for those women affected’.

It has also failed to offer any apology or explanation for its failings and has indicated it will not compensate women affected by its failure.

PHSO Chief Executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said: “The UK’s national Ombudsman has made a finding of failings by DWP in this case and has ruled that the women affected are owed compensation. DWP has clearly indicated that it will refuse to comply. This is unacceptable. The Department must do the right thing and it must be held to account for failure to do so.   

“Complainants should not have to wait and see whether DWP will take action to rectify its failings. Given the significant concerns we have that it will fail to act on our findings and given the need to make things right for the affected women as soon as possible, we have proactively asked Parliament to intervene and hold the Department to account.

“Parliament now needs to act swiftly, and make sure a compensation scheme is established. We think this will provide women with the quickest route to remedy.”  


What is it all about?

Before the Pensions Act 1995, the state pension age had been 60 for women and 65 for men. The Act changed this so that the women’s pension age would be made equal with men, but that the transition should happen between 2010 to 2020.

 

In 2006, a cross party Parliamentary report again recommended equalisation of ages on the basis of equal treatment of both sexes.

It also recommended a rise in the state pension age for both men and women to 68 between 2024 and 2046. The reason for this is that people are living longer.

 

However, when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition took power, they accelerated the rise of the state pension age to 66 for both men and women from 6 October 2020 meaning that millions of women were forced to continue working for six more years than they had originally planned.

 

What is Waspi?

Waspi is a campaign group which stands for ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’. It was set up as a result of the state pension age for women moving from 60 to 65 to align with men.

 

Women born in the 1950’s argue that the change was handled unfairly and resulted in some having to wait an extra six years until they could retire – as the state pension age had increased to 66 by then.

 

Waspi agrees with the equalisation of ages but says the affected women were not given sufficient warning.

 

The change had a huge affect on their retirement plans as they found themselves with declining incomes, with many being forced to work for longer.  

 

Waspi claims that more than three million women were affected by the date change and estimates that around 270,000 women have died while awaiting justice.

 

When will Waspi women get compensation?

The watchdog report says the DWP has failed to provide compensation to the women affected and has taken the unusual step of asking parliament to ‘intervene’ and ‘act swiftly’.

 

It says women are due compensation between £1,000 and £2,950 but currently it is unclear how and when this will be delivered.

 

What’s the state pension?

The state pension is a regular payment from the government that most people claim when they reach state pension age, which is currently 66 for both men and women.

 

Not everyone gets the same amount – how much you get depends on your National Insurance record.

 

The full rate state pension is currently £203.85 a week, which is set to rise in April by 8.5% to £221.20.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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