Are you one of the women affected by the changes to the UK's state pension age?

Chris Torney / 06 March 2015 ( 15 March 2017 )

Thousands of women in the UK approaching state pension age will have to wait longer to receive their state pension and retire.

The UK's women's state pension age is rising

Over the course of this decade, women’s state pension age is rising from 60, which it was until 2010.

Originally the women's state pension age was due to rise to 65 – in line with men’s pension age – by 2020.

But in 2011, the coalition decided that the rises should be accelerated so that both men’s and women’s state pension age reached 66 by 2020.

Four reasons women are angry about the changes to their state pension age

Why is the women's state pension age rising?

The initial reason women’s pension age was being raised in line with men’s, was so that both sexes were being treated equally. 

However, increasing life expectancy means that the government needs to start making pension payments later in life so the total cost of providing the state pension does not become unaffordable.

As well as the rise to 66 by 2020, a further rise to 67 is planned by 2028 and another to 68 is likely in the following decade.

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How are women approaching retirement age losing out?

Although women’s state pension age will be no higher than men’s, it is not the new equality that has upset many women, but rather the speed of the changes that is causing concern.

The decision that the age would increase from 60 to 65 by 2020 was originally made in 1995, giving those affected plenty of time to prepare financially.

But many women who had been expecting to start drawing their state pensions between 2016 and 2020 only found out in 2011 that they would face a delay in receiving a pension. This delay throws out many women's financial plans for their retirement, and means that they are in many instance much worse off than they should be. 

Men will have longer to prepare for the changes: their state pension age will start rising from 65 to 66 in 2018.

Read more about the flat-rate state pension

Is the government doing anything about it?

Under the legislation passed in 2011, a group of women born in or just after April 1953 would have faced a wait of an extra two years for their state pensions.

But ministers have altered the way the reform is being implemented so that no one will have to wait for more than 18 months longer than they had expected. However, many people are still campaigning for the changes to be postponed further.

In September 2016, then-new Pensions Minister Richard Harrington insisted he wouldn't change the government's decision to raise the women's state pension age - something that didn't stop WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) from raising £100,000 through crowdfunding in order to challenge the decision through legal channels.

WASPI to mount a courtroom challenge

How to find out more about the changes to the women's state pension

To find when you will be able to start receiving the state pension, visit this government website

Anyone aged 55 or older can now apply for a state pension statement, which is a forecast of how much state pension you will be entitled to.

If you would like to know more about WASPI you can visit their website, or if you want to get involved, they're also looking for volunteers to help with their campaign: Volunteer to help Women Against State Pension Inequality

Your thoughts on the changes to the women's state pension age

"The Government woke up too late and realised there was not enough money in the pension pot. Apparently, we are living too long now. Increasing NI contributions twenty years ago would have sorted out the problem, and with a simple explanation the ordinary man or woman in the street would have accepted and understood the reason for the extra contribution. Sorry for the women who have to work longer to help make up the short fall in contributions. Disappointment and equality? Hmm."

"So unfair. When I started work in 1980 I thought I would get my State Pension in 2021. In fact it will be 2029 before I do."

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