What state pension changes mean for older women

I have been inundated with emails from worried older women who want to know when they will reach state pension age, how much pension they will be paid and why the government is not giving them adequate information to help them prepare themselves.
They have received confusing information from the Department for Work and Pensions and just want to know how old they will be when they start to receive their state pension.
Unfortunately, the way the changes have been designed, it is virtually impossible to give them a straight answer. The women also want to know how much they might receive but this is also still unclear. This impacts women far more than men, because the state pension rules are changing much more for older women than for men of the same age.
Government fails to understand impact on people's lives: The chancellor indicated yesterday that he was delighted with these changes because they saved so much money. This does suggest that the government is insensitive to the damage done to many older women's lives by its policies.
Older women singled out for harsh treatment: Until recently, many of these women were expecting to receive their state pension at age 60, since they were unaware of the changes made in 1995. The coalition agreement did promise that no changes would be made to women's state pension age before 2020.
Indeed, for public sector pensions, the government insisted that it would not be fair to change the pension age for anyone within ten year's of their expected pension date. However, the coalition has decided that different rules will apply for this particular group of women.
These women are now having to cope with the news that their state pension will start much later, but are also confused about when they will actually receive it.
Even those who were aware of the previous changes and planned their finances around their expected pension date, have had the second increase in pension age imposed on them by the coalition and, if they are already retired either due to ill health or to care for others, they face significant financial strain. The government has not acknowledged their plight.
These women feel they do not matter: The coalition seems so far oblivious to the actual problems faced by these women, who feel as if they simply do not matter to policymakers.


State pension reforms are needed, but should be handled fairly: Of course it is true that the state pension age needs to rise, and it is also true that the state pension needs radical reform, but the manner in which the changes are being carried out seems to have conspired to cause concern and confusion.
Confusion as women age 58-60 reach pension age at 62, 63, 64, 65 or 66: Just look at the following tables and you will see some of the problems. It is not possible to give women a clear message about what is happening to them. The mechanics of the pension age changes are so unwieldy that whether they tell you their age now, or the year they were born, women now aged 58, 59 or 60 will qualify for their state pension at age 62, 63, 64, 65 or 66 - and their exact date of birth will determine which age relates to each woman.
Men have had far less change: The major problems only affect women. Men have had much less change - and more notice so they have more time to prepare themselves. Any man aged over 58 has seen no change in his age 65 state pension age, while women of the same age face sharp and confusing rises. The following table is a very high level summary of state pension ages:
60 62 or 63 65
59 63, 64 or 65 65
58 65 or 66 65 or 66

Government should have tried to minimise confusion: It might have been hoped that, when making the changes to state pension , the government would have tried to minimise the confusion and help give those affected the fairest chance to get to grips with the new rules. Sadly, this has simply not happened. Policy changes seem to be decided without sufficient careful thought for the actual people whose lives are being affected and who have to engage with this system.

Biggest problem for those born 1953 or 1954: Anyone born in 1953 or 1954 will now be aged 58, 59 or 60 and needs to check their state pension age very carefully. The best way to do this is to go onto the Government website and use the DWPs state pension age calculator. Enter your date of birth, and it will then give you your actual state pension date.
Many older women not online, need proper information: Of course, many older women are not able to use the internet, so they really need to have reliable information.
I have tried to explain what is happening to their state pension ages for women in the next few years, and wanted to draw up a reasonably simple table. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of the way the new state pension ages have been designed, this is really difficult. The following tables are a guide for those now aged 58, 59 or 60, who were born in 1953 or 1954. They are an attempt to give women the information they are asking for, to help them understand the planned changes:
Women aged 60
Women born on or before 5 April 1953 will be 62 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women born after 6 April 1953 will be 63 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women aged 59
Women born before 5 August 1953 will be 63 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women born on 6th July 1953, or between 6th August and 5 December 1953, will be 64 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women born on 6 November or after 6 December 1953 will be 65 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women aged 58
Women born between 6 May and 6 Sep 1953 will be 65 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women born on 6 Sep or after 5 Oct 1954 will be 66 when they become entitled to their state pension.
Women born in 1953
1 Jan - 5 Mar 62 6 Mar 63
7 Mar - 5 April 62 6 April - 5 July 63
6 July 64 7 July - 5 Aug 63
6 Aug - 5 Nov 64 6 Nov 65
7 Nov - 5 Dec 64 6 Dec - 31 Dec 65

Women born in 1954

1 Jan - 5 Sep 65 6 Sep 66
7 Sep - 5 Oct 65 6 Oct - 31 Dec 66

Need an urgent information campaign to make sure women know: How can the government seriously expect women to cope with these kinds of changes to their state pension being imposed at such a pace and in such a confusing manner? A proper campaign to explain what is happening is required.

Tell people about the future state pension age changes too: And it is also important for people to be told now about the changes to state pension age that are already planned for the future. Many are still unaware of what is happening. The new rules are less confusing than the more imminent changes, but it is important that people know what their state pension age is likely to be.

What's happening to state pension ages?

Anyone who is now aged between 53 and 57 will have a state pension age of 66.
Anyone who is age 52 now, will reach state pension age at either 66 or 67.
Anyone younger than age 51 (but at least 31) will reach state pension age at 67. However, the government has released details in its Pensions Bill of future changes to state pension age being linked to rising life expectancy. In future, a commission will be established to advise on how fast pension age should rise in future, after 2026. Therefore, it will be important for people to keep track of what is happening to pension ages when making long-term plans for later life finances.
This feature was written for our sister website Money Observer


Your Comments

"The coalition agreement did promise that no changes would be made to women's state pension age before 2020."  So what can be done about the fact that they have defaulted on their promise?  Surely the government can't just keep changing the goal posts as and when they like as these decisions have an impact on and affect the lives of women [especially those who reached 60 only to find that the state pension age has moved to 62 or 63 etc.] Are we becoming a society with no say? 


I was born in 1946.  As I continued working after age 60 and didn't need the money,  I deferred my state pension by 5 years so that I would receive an extra 50% when it was eventually paid.  I now find that everyone is to receive £144 a week, almost the same amount as my "enhanced" pension.  Was I stupid to miss out on 5 years of pension or will I still get some benefit from this?

I am one of the most unfortunate - born after September 1954 so my pension age has now been raised from 64 to 66. When the government decided to raise the pension age for women from 60 to 65 in the mid-1990s, they were decent enough to phase in the changes for those of a certain age in order to allow women to adjust to the new rules.
What is unfair about these recent changes is that they have not stood by the original phasing and have discriminated against women in my age group. If they had been understanding of women's positions, they should have phased the changes from 65 to 66 to those already scheduled to retire at 65. To apply these changes to those already in the phasing scheme is vastly unfair and insensitive. In my case, I don't have the ability to make further contributions to my pensions savings due to the fact that no one wants to employ women of a certain age! There is also a lack of acknowledgement that women, and especially older women, have been worst hit by redundancy in this recession.

The inheritance of spouses National Insurance contributions are also stopping as part of the new pensions, so women including widows, who are depending on this method of getting a pension are also extremely badly affected by the new scheme.
Imagine saving in a private pension for a pension for you & your wife which included a windows pension & then within a few years of retirement the pension company declaring that your wife’s pension would not be paid & if you died first your widow would not receive a widows pension.
The Government would be the first to complain, but that is exactly what's happening & the Government is the corrupt pension provider!

I am not in the age groups given above, I'm a little younger. I was born in 1958 and am only 54, but  the changes will still impact on my age group. The information out there is contradictory, the government hasn't made the pension process any simpler as was their intention. It is more and more clouded in mystery and secrecy, probably on purpose. It is a cost saving measure only.
I retired early with my husband as he is older than myself. We planned our finances for retirement as carefully as we could but now the government is planning changes which will affect us greatly and there is very little we can do about it.
My husband should receive his pension as he planned at 65, but mine will alter considerably. I have 30 years contributions which should have given me a full pension for the future. I accept that my pension age has now risen to 66, but the the DWP is proposing that I will now need 35 years conrtibutions to get a full pension. I am out of the workforce and and the country. We moved to The Republic of Ireland, so my only option seems to be additional contributions. I am loathe to do this however, as they might be wasted as the goal posts never seem to stay in the same place for long! It also seems that I will no longer be able to inherit my spouses hard earned pension to make up the difference.
My recently received State Pension Statement doesn't help either as it still states that I  only need 30 years contributions for a full pension. When will we finally told what is happening?
When will the government make the decision about the proposed changes? They give no consideration to the impact this has on ordinary hard working families, or to how they can re-plan their finances to take account of all the coming changes. 
I think we all accept there need to be changes to the pension system to make it affordable, but not like this. I have a feeling this government will not be in power too much longer if it carries on bulldozing in these proposals.

As a married woman who worked in the Uk and paid taxes and National Insurance for 44 years I find I am dependent on my husband's National Insurance contributions now that I am retired. In the 1960's and before it was assumed that married women paid the reduced "married women's stamp" as they would leave the work force to have children. This I never did. As governments monkied around with the rules I ended up paying a percentage of my earnings in full-time employment which would have amounted to more in actual terms than many others who now enjoy a state pension in their own right. Can anyone tell me precisely where I write to in order to ask for a breakdown of all my contributions over the 44 years? I believe that there are some women who have never set foot in the UK who never worked who receive the same amount I now receive.