Report on state pension age raises possibility of compensation for affected women

A report set to be published could bring compensation for women impacted by the rising state pension age as the Ombudsman’s investigation has focused on potential injustices stemming from aligning women’s retirement age with men’s, a decision that left many financially strained.

While the ombudsman can advise on compensation, enforcement remains outside its scope. Campaigners, notably Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), are advocating for substantial compensation, with figures like £10,000 or more being suggested. The controversy revolves around the gradual increase in the state pension age, currently set at 66 for both genders. Critics argue that women born in the 1950s were unfairly treated due to abrupt changes and insufficient communication regarding the adjustments.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s preliminary findings in 2021 highlighted maladministration by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), particularly in the delayed provision of information to affected women. Many were unaware of the personal implications until much later than they should have been.

The upcoming report is expected to address whether these communication lapses constitute “injustice” and whether affected individuals should receive compensation. If compensation is recommended, the government could potentially face a significant financial burden amounting to billions.

Waspi emphasises the dire consequences faced by some women, including poverty and difficulties finding employment due to age. Angela Madden, chair of Waspi, shared her personal experience of being informed about the pension age change after already leaving her job, leaving her financially vulnerable.

Karen Woodward, a self-employed woman from Dorset, recounts her shock upon discovering the change in pension age just two years before her expected retirement. This unexpected shift left her without the expected financial support, forcing her to continue working despite health challenges and significant financial losses.

Ms. Woodward’s story echoes those of many women impacted by the state pension age adjustments, highlighting the urgent need for compensation to address the hardships they have endured.

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