Investigation indicates that women’s pension age changes were not communicated correctly by Government

10 June 2021

An investigation carried out by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) suggests that women who were born in the 1950s were not notified of the increase to their state pension age in a timely fashion.

Initial findings state that these women suffered delays in communication of more than two years, which could mean that compensation will be payable to thousands of those impacted, as they were not given sufficient time to make changes to their retirement plans.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) and BackTo60 campaign groups argued that when plans were made to increase women’s state pension age to 65 – in alignment with men’s – these changes were not implemented in a fair manner and not enough notice was provided. Additionally, they state that the changes were actioned more quickly than stated within the Pensions Act 2011.

The PHSO announced that a sample of complaints on the matter would be investigated back in 2018. This investigation was suspended in December 2018 because a judicial review was being carried out into the matter. As the High Court rejected the claims that women born in the 1950s who saw their state pension age increase were discriminated against and the claims that the Government did not appropriately notify those affected by the changes, the PHSO resumed its investigation in January 2021.

A final report from the PHSO is expected in July 2021, but the Financial Adviser reports that initial findings of the investigation highlight the fact that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) did send sufficient communication regarding the planned pension age rises between the period of 1995 and 2004. The changes were first legislated for in 1995.

However, analysis in 2004 unearthed the fact that the Government campaign on the topic did not reach the relevant people, and those who needed the information the most. The DWP failed to act on this research, and it was only in 2006 that it proposed to write to all of those impacted individually to advise them of the increase to their state pension age. It was not until December 2007 that these proposals were actually actioned.

 


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