The impact of changes to the state pension age – which has seen the state pension age for women rise from 60 to 65 to be in line with men ahead of further increases for both sexes – has been “devastating” for many women, it’s been claimed. It comes as new research by interactive investor found more than one in three of female respondents said the levelling of the state pension age had affected their finances.
Meanwhile, 21 percent said they were in financial hardship because they had not had long enough to prepare their finances.
As well as this age group being disproportionately affected, single women were slightly more likely to be adversely affected (38 percent), as were women with children (37 percent).
It’s not just those in this age bracket who reported adverse effects, however.
Even women in younger age brackets said it had affected them.
In the survey, 43 percent of women aged 55 to 59 said it had adversely affected them (37 percent said it hadn’t), and in the age bracket 48 to 54, 33 percent of women said it had adversely affected their finances.
Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions & Savings at interactive investor, said: “The levelling of the state pension age had a devastating impact on many women in the 60 to 65 age bracket, but even younger women said it had affected them, suggesting the impact is likely to continue for years.
“Financial hardship and having to work for longer were the biggest impacts cited.
“The women affected had no control over what was happening and had limited ability to anticipate the changes and make preparations.”
One woman, now 62, had intended to rely on savings until she reached her state pension age, due to ill-health.
However, the increase to the state pension age meant she had to change plans, she said.
“My life has been totally ruined by not receiving my state pension,” she told interactive investor.
“Five years’ notice was all I got, and I had finished work and was living on savings due to ill health, thinking I only had five years to go.
“Then it was 11 years, and I could not get a job due to my age.
“I am now working in a large supermarket.
“At 62, I am so worn out with it, especially now with COVID-19.”
The state pension age for women was set to increase to 65 in line with men under the Pensions Act 1995, with the changes accelerated under the Pensions Act 2011.
Since state pension age parity of 65 was reached back in November 2018, the state pension age for men and women has been rising – reaching 66 last month.
Now, the state pension age is set to continue rising – increasing to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality and this has been clearly communicated.
“We are helping people save for their futures and Automatic Enrolment has helped millions more women in employment to save into a workplace pension, many for the first time.”