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 email@example.com
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.
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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.
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.
We also had record mortgage rates for most of our mortgage life