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How State Pension Age Rises affect You

Article by Sarah Pennells

 If you’re aged 57 you may not get your state pension until you’re 66 if the government’s plans go through.
Around half a million women will have to wait longer for their state pension if government proposals become law.  The coalition government wants to speed up the raising of the state pension age for women and men to 66, but women will be the worst affected. These plans come despite the fact that it was in the coalition agreement that the government wouldn’t do this. Around 33,000 women born between March and April 1954 will be the worst affected as they’ll have to wait for a further two years to get their state pension.
What will the changes mean?
Women are already having to wait longer for their state pension; the state pension age started rising from 60 to 65 last April and was due to be phased in over 10 years. Now the coalition government is planning to bring in a second delay. It means that if you were due to take your state pension after 5th April 2016, you’ll be affected  (and that means you’ll have been born on or after April 6th 1953).
• 500,000 women will have to wait for a year longer than had been the case under the existing timetable for raising the state pension age.
• 300,000 women will have to wait for 18 months than had been the case under the existing timetable for raising the state pension age.
• 33,000 women will have to wait two years longer than had been the case under the existing timetable for raising the state pension age. If you’re born between March 6th and April 5th 1954 you will fall into this group.
• The full basic state pension is currently worth around £5,000 a year so if you have to wait for another two years, you’ll lose out on £10,000 of pension – and you’ll have to pay National Insurance (if you continue to work) as well.

What can you do if you are affected by pensions changes?

What are the options for bridging the gap?
If you don’t have enough money saved to support yourself while you wait for the state pension to kick in you have several options (although none of them may be practical or appeal). 
• Work until your state pension kicks in. Although the government has got rid of the default retirement age many older women work part-time once they reach their late 50s (official figures show that only 50% of women aged 50 or over are in full time work).
• Claim out of work benefits. If you lose your job you may be eligible for jobseeker’s allowance.
SAVVY TIP: Contribution-based JSA can only be claimed for six months. Here, the amount you receive isn’t affected by your savings or those of your husband/partner. You have to have paid enough NI to qualify for it.
• If you can’t work because you’re ill or disabled you may be entitled to employment and support allowance (ESA), but you have to undergo a medical assessment. 
SAVVY TIP: If you’re assessed as being able to work if you receive support and you receive contributory based ESA (which relies on you having made enough National Insurance contributions) you would only receive the benefit for a year.

 What you can do.
The Pensions Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons in the middle of May so there’s still time for the government to change its mind. 
• If you don’t agree with the planned changes, write to your MP. Many MPs have no idea how women will be affected or that these plans break a coalition agreement pledge.
• Sign one of the petitions. There are several online petitions that you can sign: www.unionstogether.org.uk  Hands off our pensions or www.saga.co.uk  both have them.
• Spread the word. Many women don’t realise they’ll be affected so if you have friends and family in their mid 50s, tell them how they could lose out. You can find information about the www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk  delay to your state pension on the Pensions Advisory Service website.

Sarah Pennells

Sarah is the founder of SavvyWoman.co.uk, a website aimed at smart women aged 30+ who want to get more from their money. Sarah is a personal finance journalist and author who has written three books; about money and relationships, divorce and finance and green and ethical money. Sarah regularly appears on BBC1's Breakfast programme as a finance expert and reported on consumer and finance issues on the programme for several years. She also writes for a number of women's magazines. www.savvywoman.co.uk

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  1. Kelly

    March 21, 2011

    Why do people who are still so young need state pensions? Why aren’t they working longer? If we are all supposed to live into our late 80’s and 90’s then how much can state pensions be expected to shell out? What about the private sector workers who have no state pensions?

  2. LYNNE

    July 1, 2011

    Perhaps we should be given the option NOT to draw down a state pension?

    Maybe they can give us a refund – say 3,600 for every WORKING year.

    I’d be quite happy with 151,200 – Its better than nothing, which is what we will all end up with!

  3. Beth Browning

    November 24, 2011

    I feel sorry for my sisters both of whom will be effected. I was lucky being born in 1949, I received my pension at 60. I had paid in 44 years of stamps of which only 40 contributed to its worth. To call it national insurance is a farce what other insurance would be allowed to change the pay out date?
    The other big problem of course is that being forced to stay at work longer the government has deprived the young of the jobs that would have been there. Pity they didn’t extend the school leaving age at the same time and use the extra year to train the young in someway which would also have given jobs to people who have the skills to teach them trades etc. For every action there is a reaction!

  4. Anna Cronin

    December 9, 2011

    I agree with Kelly that 60 is way too young to be pensioned off! Has everyone forgotten that when the concept of pensions was introduced, life expectancy was much lower. People were not expected to live more than a couple of years past retiring. If you are approaching 60, do you expect to be dead in the next couple of years?? Of course not!
    The whole idea of retirement and pensions needs to be radically rethought!

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