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A Pension Is Not a Benefit

12/04/2016 11:03 | Updated 12 May 2016

As a 57 year old middle aged woman I am, unfortunately, one of the hundreds of thousands of women who have been caught out with the rise in retirement age which means I won't get my pension until I'm 66 and not 60, as originally planned. A six year gap might not seem a lot but for women my age it can bring all sorts of problems, least of all not being able to plan accordingly where money's concerned due to a lack of communication from the government.

A group of women who call themselves WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have been busy trying to raise awareness that in fact the government have broken their own law and instead of giving women at least ten years notice of these changes, they have only given between two years and eight years notice to these women. So what's the problem?

Back in 1995 John Major's government passed an act which stated that women will retire at the same age as men which is 65 years old, this was supposed to take years to enforce but it would be in place by 2020. Unfortunately in 2011 the coalition government decided to accelerate it which meant that women were receiving letters a couple of years before their due retirement saying that the goalposts have been moved and they were having to work a lot longer than planned. In the chaos that followed it transpires that the DWP insisted that everyone involved would have been notified years ago, then they backtracked and admitted that there were probably a lot of women who hadn't received any notification at all.

Waspi women want fair transitional state pension arrangements for 50's women which means all women born after 6th April 1951. It's not about the working longer, in a society where everyone is living longer it would make some sort of sense, it's the way that this has been done. Some women leading up to retirement have probably gone part time at work and this could be for a few reasons. Some women might have to help out looking after grandchildren a couple of days a week, or maybe helping to look after their own parents, or, let's face it, after working hard for over 40 years they might just be tired and want to work less, so being told you have to wait a few more years is nothing less than an insult. A pension is not a benefit. It is something that these women have paid into over a long period of time and are now ready to receive what they are actually entitled to.

Being older women it may be that some are divorced or widowed, and working part time for a few more years than expected could lead to a struggle trying to pay bills, and don't assume that all of these women are living rent free or that they've paid a mortgage off just because they're older.

The good news is that the government have admitted that they did in fact enforce this action a bit too quick without giving enough notice to everyone concerned, but it's not going to change the retirement age. But it has been mentioned that maybe some women can retire earlier on a reduced pension, but nothing concrete yet, so let's hope this gets resolved at last.

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