State pension: WASPI women express delight as key update shared

WASPI women have been left ‘high and dry’ says David Linden

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State pension age changes mean men and women can now expect to retire at the same age – rather than 60 for women and 65 for men as it stood previously. However, some women affected, who were born in the 1950s, argued the changes to the state pension age were not amply communicated with them.

As a result, those affected say they have been impacted on a financial, emotional and social level.

In the summer of 2021, it was found the DWP was “inadequate” in its communications with women impacted by state pension age changes.

A number of women took their complaints to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which launched a review into the matter.

The Ombudsman said it found “failings” in the way the DWP communicated changes to the women’s state pension age.

From 2005 onwards, it was deemed the DWP’s actions were not up to par.

The decision was deemed as a major victory for women born in the 1950s.

However, the issue is not over, and the PHSO is now considering whether maladministration led to “injustice” for those impacted.

In the latest update, an important date has been shared, vital to 1950s women.

The PHSO shared: “We have asked the DWP to send us further evidence by the end of March 2022.

“We cannot progress stage two of the investigation without that evidence.”

Stage two will look at whether there was injustice for the complainants, but the decision is not a foregone conclusion.

If it is eventually determined that there was an injustice which has not already been remedied, the third step will occur.

This could involve making recommendations to put things right. 

A WASPI spokesperson shared the group’s thoughts on the latest update.

They told “WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality – are pleased that some time constraint has been added.

“This will enable this process to be concluded as quickly as possible.

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“WASPI is calling for fair and fast compensation for all women born in the 1950s affected by the maladministration the DWP already found by the Ombudsman.”

A 2019 High Court decision means the PHSO cannot recommend that the DWP reimburse “lost” pensions.

Nor can the Ombudsman recommend that anyone receive their state pension any earlier than the law allows. 

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson told “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal. 

“In a move towards gender equality, it was decided more than 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.”

A spokesperson added it would be inappropriate to comment further while the PHSO investigation remains ongoing. 

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