"I have lost over £40,000 so far and had to sell my house": Moneywise hears from women affected by the state pension age change

8 March 2019
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On International Women’s Day, Moneywise publishes some of the letters we received from women affected by the state pension age changes

Moneywise recently published a feature article on the effect of state pension age changes for women. The response was extraordinary, with well over a hundred writing to us to express their dismay at the changes, the way the government has handled the process, and the way they have been treated.

Thank you to all those who wrote to us, from women affected, to their husbands and children.

In 1995, the government announced plans to increase women’s state pension age from 60 to 65 in line with men’s. As a result, many women in their early 60s now are facing financial hardship. For more on the issue, read our piece on the changes.

Below, we’ve published a selection of those letters, to hear more from how these women have been affected.

Have you been affected by the state pension age changes for women? We'd like to hear your story. Please email editorial@moneywise.co.uk

Jan Neate – “The increase should have been phased in gradually”

I worked continually for over 45 years before stopping in 2017 to take early retirement due to stress and anxiety caused by my high-powered job.

I was never informed of the government’s proposals and now have to wait until I’m 66 to receive my pension. 

I have lost over £40,000 so far and at the moment I am living off savings after selling my house.

I feel cheated and betrayed. I grew up expecting to get my pension at 60 and the huge jump to 66 is simply too long to wait.

I never claimed anything and always worked - only taking a few months off when my son was born. The increase should have been phased in gradually and not handled in the uncaring way that it was.

Grace Cory – “I would like to know what has happened to all of my money”

I was born in 1954 and have paid 40 years of contributions. With little likelihood of getting another job after being made redundant in 2013 I decided to care for my mother.

I had a small private pension (£40 a month) and carer’s allowance to live on for the next three years, but then my mother passed away.

I have suffered from chronic migraines and fibromyalgia for 25 years but was unable to get ESA or any other benefit. My only option was to sell my house and buy a park home. 

I feel so let down by the government and I would like to know what has happened to all of my money they have taken since I was 17. It sounds like fraud to me.

Beverley Mitchell – “I was unaware of the increase until my sister told me”

I was unaware of the increase in the state pension until my sister told me she would be one of the last women to be able to retire at 60 as promised.

Unfortunately, I had to take early retirement of around £350 a month after having a spinal operation which left me with health issues. I have received no support from the benefit system except help towards my rent and council tax and I am living below the poverty line.

I feel myself and many more women have been dreadfully treated. I would not have minded the delay of 18 months as promised by the government, but a delay of six years is disgraceful.

Win £1,000! Have changes to state pension age affected your retirement plans? Share your views in Moneywise’s Great British Retirement Survey and you could be in with the chance of winning £1,000 or one of five £100 shopping vouchers.

Louise Swanston – “The government is desperate to save money”

The government is desperate to save money and is using women born in the 1950s to their own ends.

I’m 64 and I have to wait until I'm nearly 66 before I receive a penny from the state, even though all my Class 3 National Insurance contributions have been long-since paid.

I have always been in favour of equalising the state pension age and was willing to accept the first hike proposed in 1995. However, the further twist of the knife in 2011 was the last straw.

Women of my age have spent all their lives often working part-time because of family commitments and/or being paid considerably less than their male counterparts. Our generation has been woefully discriminated against by the state and should in my view be entitled to compensation in respect of the decision made in 2011.

Yvonne Crozier – “I was 57 when I first heard”

I was 57 when I first heard I wouldn't receive my state pension when I was 60. This was far too late to plan for my retirement and I had already made arrangements to look after my grandchildren.

My generation worked hard, brought up a family, looked after parents and there was no alternative to full-time work when I was younger.

I paid into the system for over 40 years and I have nothing to show for it in the way of a pension.

Sue Morris – “Shafted, short-changed, dismissed and overlooked”

I feel robbed and cheated out of more than just money. We have been treated with contempt and arrogance by those in power and who are all financially in a privileged situation.

Surely it must be recognised that women of this era were never in a position to save and build a pension, most being the homemaker and child carer.

Have 1950s women been shafted, short-changed, dismissed and overlooked? The answer is most definitely YES.

Sue Hird – “I do not recall receiving any information”

I can honestly say that I do not recall receiving any information from the government.

I am finding it increasingly hard financially with soaring food costs and utility price increases.

I have worked 40 years full time only having maternity leave for my daughter and a period of part-time for one year.

I have very little in the way of savings and they are disappearing fast on day-to day-living. I feel saddened and cheated by not receiving my pension at age 60 and feel that women born in the 50s should be in some way recompensed - even perhaps receiving a one-off lump sum payment.

I believe that the result for Waspi and Backto60 women will be found favourable by the High Court and that the government will be held responsible for maladministration.

Carol Archer – “Listen to the voices of so many hard-working women”

It’s disgusting how the government pulled the rug from beneath us. We were not notified. No letter, nothing in the media, it just happened.

I now have to continue working until the age of 66, which will give me less time to spend time with grandchildren. To have the goalposts moved at the last minute for women that have worked all our lives is barbaric. We are tired.

Hopefully this government will listen to the voices of so many hard-working women now in their 60s and pay us what is owed.

Lesley Edwards “I don't know how I am going to manage”

I will be 64 this summer and I work two 12-hour night shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I do this to make sure I can still look after my grandchildren after school and care for my mum who is 88. Although I work, it is not enough to pay all the bills and so I rely on universal credit which I feel awful about.

I have poor health and just don't know how I am going to manage another two years. I have been working since I was 15 years-old and I feel very let down.

Francesca Birch – “I have to find work or claim universal credit”

Like many other women of my age I received no notification letter to warn me I would have to wait another six years for my pension and now I face a bleak situation.

I have failing health, no other assets and have to continue to find work or claim universal credit. After a lifetime of work and supporting society at my own expense, this is what we 50s women now have to face.

I support WASPI and all similar campaign groups but this and previous governments have robbed me of my pension, my health and sanity.

Joan Davison – “We brought up families, cared for aging relatives and paid our taxes”

I was promised a state pension on reaching the age of 60 and my financial arrangements have always been based around this. Now aged 61 I continue to work two shifts a week as a nurse in a busy accident and emergency department with no prospects of a state pension until I reach 66.

Whilst I am fortunate enough to receive a small pension from the NHS this is based on part-time work and in no way covers the shortfall in income that I would be left with if I decided to retire now.

I have been left with no time to prepare for these changes and I feel cheated and robbed after having paid my dues to the state pension scheme all my working life.

Who will listen to we ladies who have brought up families, cared for aging relatives and paid our taxes? The answer I fear is no one.

Liz Pearcy “I should be enjoying retirement but feel I won't even live that long”

I always expected to get my state pension at 60.  I’m 63 I have another three years to work in a low paid job, five days a week plus two weekends a month to make ends meet.

I am single and have no other income. At present I am struggling with rotator cuff injuries of both shoulders, awaiting surgery and have already had joint replacement on both hands because of osteoarthritis - to enable me to continue to work.

Why can't the government allow older people to retire and get younger job seekers to take our jobs? I should be enjoying my retirement but feel I won't even live that long - which is obviously also part of the plan. We have been robbed of our pensions and our well-earned freedom - a shocking crime against a generation of women.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

why do so many women believe that they should be granted a five year bonus of pension, many women asked for equality, that works for & against now it has not worked in female retirees favour it must be wrong. Sorry that you feel equality only works when it favours you I as a male believe in equality across the board welcome to my world.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Funny how with Women,s day being this week ,and everyone wanting equal rights as men[who have an average shorter life span],why there is such a fuss being made. Every affected household was sent a government letter in 1995 [think it was 18million letters sent out]explaining the situation ,its amazing how many did not [or don,t remember]receiving this letter all those years ago.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The women complaining should understand that if they want equal rights with men (which I do agree with) then they have to accept the right to a pension at the same age as men.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"In 1995, the government announced plans to increase women’s state pension age...."24 years ago. "I was 57 when I first heard I wouldn't receive my state pension when I was 60."Unbelievable. Why wait so late to find out?"It’s disgusting how the government pulled the rug from beneath us. "It wasn't. You didn't bother looking under the rug to begin with."I can honestly say that I do not recall receiving any information from the government."Did you look for any information?"I was promised a state pension on reaching the age of 60 and my financial arrangements have always been based around this." That changed 24 years ago."I always expected to get my state pension at 60."Until 24 years ago, maybe.Why don't people take an interest in things that affect them, instead of expecting to be hand-held through every little thing? Why do people "have to be proactively informed?" Why can't they go find out these things for themselves and stop blaming others for their own lack of action?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You all have failed to plan and therefore have planned to fail.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I just wonder why so many of you left your retirement to the government?I'm a millennial. I have £1.6million life insurance for my family till age 90. I have income protection should either myself or my wife fall ill. That's a solid foundation should disaster strike.I save 15% of what I earn and invest it in index funds. Should result in a retirement pot north of £1million.Sacrifices are made so that we can do the above. That and living below ones means - any one can do this, forgoing a holiday, not driving an expensive car or designer clothes.. Unfortunately life is such that there is no parachute. You all are older and from the pre-credit card era having less debt than many millennial. Have benefited from wage inflation, property inflation, high interest rates on savings. You've had the good years. I'm sorry but it's not the governments fault that were all living longer due to modern medicine. You all really should have planned your life out in your thirties (as I have done). You all have failed to plan and therefore have planned to fail. I don't feel why I should have to pay for the mistakes of others by paying higher tax.

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Difference

I am afraid that you have totally missed the point here. The fact is that many 1950's women were either expected to give up work after having children or to work in part-time,poorly paid jobs. There were no opportunities for these women to join pension schemes. Many worked from the age of 15 until they had children. The higher education system wasn't as it is now. Many married women had their grants assessed on their fathers wages. You just have no understanding of how discriminated against we were. Until th 1980's a wife had to get her husband's signature to get HP. There were no opportunities for women to build up finance. We have been discriminated against from all sides and it is a fundamental travesty.

In reply to by Jrl (not verified)

Women's pensions

Everyone knew the pension was changing

In reply to by Jeremy hasbeen (not verified)

Conned

You talk garbage man.

In reply to by Jeremy hasbeen (not verified)

Pension

I certainly didn't receive notice of pension changes I am still working full time I have very fainful arthritis in need of knee and hip replacement but can't have then till i can retire in July when I will be nearly 66 at the moment my quality of life isn't great if i
could have retired when i was supposed to it was have been done years ago and I totally agree with the other women we were robbed by the government where is the money we have paid in while people are struggling the disgusting government don't know what it is like to have to watch our money

In reply to by Jrl (not verified)

Pension

My wife paid her contribution all through having children so why didn’t you,and if you win will she get her contributions back ,my brothers retirement age will be 67 they weren’t given a choice

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Rubbish

We also had record mortgage rates for most of our mortgage life

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Lucky you

You are lucky you was in a financial position to save and invest this money, most of us were stretched and did not have holidays or cars and struggled to provide for our families. Lucky you.

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Pension at 60

The men who comment cannot be married or they would know the hardships and discrimination that 50s women endured we were encouraged to pay a smaller contribution in national insurance as we had the security of a working husband and were told we could get a pension based on his contribution. We had nothing to invest of our own. We did not automatically get enrolled in workplace pensions as they did not exist for women. If married you needed the signature of your husband for everything financial. The mortgage was always husband's name first as he was assumed main wage earner and life insurance was and still is a higher rate for the man. I agree with other writers that an average life expectancy should not be used unless the count used relates to only British born and bred women who have worked and paid into the system for the 35 years and not every woman aged 60 who now live in this country and not paid into the system but are syphoning the funds which are rightly the future finances of the British people

In reply to by Tricia (not verified)

Pension over 60

All I can say is where was equal pay for women when we was 15 years old and through the years of working ..bringing up children and working part time and full time caring for the house cooking washing everything that women do ..! Then we would have had money to put in for a private pension So where was equal rights 50 years ago ..?

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Pension

People of this generation started working age 14 or 15 not that privileged compared to today

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Pensions

Good luck! Life has many twists and turns. You might find yourself with only half a house and half a pension if your marriage goes belly up. Or maybe you get ill and cant work or get made redundant. This would all affect your finances.

In reply to by Mr Contrarian (not verified)

Women robbed of pension

You are probably in a fortunate position and in a well paid job .I can remember with my wife bringing up 2 children ,I worked as an electrician my wife also worked in various jobs ,there was not much money spare ,it was not until our children had grown up that I could think.of private pensions..my father worked all his life until due to I'll health he had to stop at 60 ,he died 66 1year state pension ,what happened to the rest of his pension .You are probably one of the I'm all right Jack brigade it doesn't affect you so they can go to hell Equality for women and men state pension age should have been phased in gradually being asked to work another 3years is bad enough never mind 6 years signed a fair minded male pensioner

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We founded The Protest Against The Accelerated SPA increase group late in 2010 when we heard about the proposed acceleration of the 1995 age rise for women. Along with the Labour Party, Unions Together and Age UK we were part of achieving the grudging 6 months concession the government gave, so that no woman had more than 18 months added to her 1995 SPA date, but that was not enough! The 2011 timetable was badly worked out and unfair and because many women didn't know about the 1995 age rise, because they were not informed, it was as if up to 6 years had been added to their SPA all at once. . Just one example of the badly worked out unfair timetable, a woman born 6/4/1954 - 5/ 5/1954 always expected to receive her SP at 60, the 1995 SPA rise made it 64, then the 2011 made it 65 and 1/2. This is the gross unfairness, a woman born 6/4/1953-5/5/1953, exactly 1 year older, received her SP 6/7/2016. the woman ONE year younger has to wait until 6/11/2019. 3 years 4 months later than the woman just 1 year older.Many of our members with age related complaints have been found 'fit to work' because they can still breathe and they are being humiliated on job centre courses with little chance, at 60+ of finding a job.We have almost 3.000 members and hopefully more of them will share their stories with you. Many have age related complaints and anxiety/stress relating to how they have been treated, many are women alone, who wonder how they can struggle on much longer. They feel unworthy and cheated that the government can do this to them when they have worked hard from 15/16 years old, before equality of wages with men and before women had the opportunity or finances to save for a private pension. They paid in contributions all their working lives to support those on the SP at the time, only to find that at very little notice, when it was almost their turn to receive their SP, the rules changed. Women are not against equality of SPA with men, but are against the way it has been done targeting the same women twice and causing them financial and emotional devastation!

In reply to by Ruth Ockendon … (not verified)

Winners and losers. That's…

Winners and losers. That's life.

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