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Q&A - Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI)

(91 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 11-Sep-17 14:48:11

As many of you will already know from the various discussions we've had on the subject, WASPI is a campaigning group representing almost 3.5 million women born in the 1950s who have been negatively impacted by the lack of notification of the increases in their State Pension age.

WASPI is campaigning to end the huge financial difficulties suffered by this group of women because of the way the changes in the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts were implemented. Successive Governments did not give the women affected by these changes sufficient notice that their State Pension age would be increasing, meaning that WASPI women have had no time to put in place alternative financial arrangements to see them through to the new state retirement age. Some women have lost as much as £45,000.

Founded by just five ordinary women in 2015, the WASPI movement has grown and now has over 70,000 supporters and 140 local groups across the UK. WASPI has secured support from the Labour, SNP, DUP and Women and Equalities parties and has raised £100,000 through CrowdJustice to fund an initial legal campaign.

Jane Cowley is Communications and PR Director for WASPI and has directed the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign since 2016. Like so many WASPI women, Jane heard in 2011, only after she had taken early retirement, that she would not receive her pension until she was nearly 66.

If you would like to ask Jane about any aspect of WASPI's work, aims and/or anything else to do with pension inequality, simply add your question to this thread before Monday, 25 September.

Grannybeth Wed 11-Apr-18 22:51:26

There's a meeting between the APPG and representatives from the various campaign groups on April 25th. The purpose is to discuss the findings of a survey the APPG did last year and to put in into Carolyn Harris' Private Memebers Bill which we hope will be heard after the summer recess. There's more cross party support for us 50's women so you never know......

gillybob Wed 11-Apr-18 07:28:24

I’m the same as you MissA (68+) and fear that with ever moving goalposts and all the extra stresses and strains thrown at us we may never reach that golden age of retirement . As Harris and Paddyann have said that is probably the general idea . sad

Chewbacca Tue 10-Apr-18 22:47:12

Tend to agree with you paddyann. The WASPI movement seems to have ground to a halt; its been months since I saw anything in the news about anything new being discussed. I have a feeling that we've been kicked into the long grass.

MissAdventure Tue 10-Apr-18 22:44:05

68+ for me, at the moment.
Who knows, it may go up again? sad

paddyann Tue 10-Apr-18 22:21:46

Harris27 I believe thats the plan ,we'll all die before we can claim a pension...

Harris27 Tue 10-Apr-18 21:36:16

Hi gillybob that's so unfair I feel for husband is only 3 years older than me and in much better health thank goodness . However what about the fact that the goal posts are moving rapidly we might not reach retirement, worrying thought.

gillybob Sun 08-Apr-18 08:51:08

I’m in a similar situation to you Harris27 I’m 56 and my pension forecast shows that I will be 68+ before I can retire. My DH and I have a just over 10 yea age gap and we had planned to retire together when he was 70 and I was 60. Out of the window now. Can he work until 78? I very much doubt it.

Harris27 Sat 07-Apr-18 22:19:47

Sorry present job.

Harris27 Sat 07-Apr-18 22:19:08

I'm 58 married in poor health and will have to work till 66 . Working in childcare for a pittance.just want yo have some options before I retire. If id known sooner I would of tried harder to get out off my otrsdnt job.

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 23:06:47

It’s all a mess isn’t it - no wonder those that could invested in buy to let as a pension pot and look where that’s got us.

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 22:51:27

Yep, I’ve got (or rather haven’t got) one of those pensions as well, maryeliza. grin I could be a poster girl for pension schemes good, bad and disappeared. Three years (fortunately, just three years) paying into a scheme in the 70s that was embezzled by its trustees. They went to jail, but that was no comfort to the people who lost out. And then we WASPIs are told by our critics that we should have made better provision for our old age. Easier said than done, especially when so many of us had periods of working part-time in an era when it was okay to deny part-timers membership of a pension scheme.

I’d like to think things could be better for our children, but I’m afraid they’re on track to be much, much worse.

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 22:15:51

On the other hand there were the occupational pension schemes like Maxwells.......and BHS. I really am not saying that what’s happened with the state pension is OK because bad things happen with other pensions. I suppose what the whole sorry mess tells us is that we ( collectively) have not taken pension provision seriously enough in this country for a long time and have been willing to put up with politicians who didn’t want to have well funded pensions ( for the hoi polloi because it would have meant higher taxes- or less generous tax allowances for those in receipt of high salaries and excellent pension schemes.

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 20:06:44

True, maryeliza54, many occupational pension schemes have changed a lot recently as well, and not usually for the better, unfortunately. But in the case of mine at least, the conditions stayed the same for any member up to ten years away from their retirement date, and we all received letters telling us about the changes and how they would affect us. There was a consultation period as well, when we were invited to comment, not that the more cynical amongst us thought it would make a blind bit of difference....

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 12:42:36

To be fair, my understanding is that just about all occupational pension schemes have changed enormously over the last years - later retirement ages, huge increase in employee contributions and for many loss of a defined benefits scheme in favour of money purchase and all this without employee approval. As an unaffected person re the state pension, however, whilst I accept there had to be equalisation upwards to 65, the great injustices are not having a fool proof system of notifying every woman when the charge in legislation actually happened and secondly not just doing it incrementally a month at a time as I believ3 it first started to happen. As for the level of the SP, I believe we have one of the lowest amongst the major Eiropean countries. Labour tried to improve this way back with SERPS but that has now gone. A real turning point was when MT broke the link between pensions and earnings

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 12:35:19

Agreed, Day6. As another of the worst affected, losing 6 years of SPA, I fully appreciate that the state pension age has to be equalised for men and women. I would accept a loss of 6 to 12 months pension as part of a fair and gradual move towards equalisation. This is how it has worked in other countries, but unfortunately successive UK governments have ignored the issue for years then rushed it through by throwing us under the bus. Like you, I have a small occupational pension that I paid for over many years, so cannot claim any benefits. I was made redundant just before my 60th birthday and decided to help my DC with childcare as I always promised I’d do when I retired. They needed me then, not 6 years down the line. I know I am luckier than many, but we are eating into the savings we thought would be our cushion in later years. Many women are in desperate straits. At the WASPI demos, I have spoken with some of them, including two who have had to sell their homes, and one with a terminal illness who knew she would not live to get hers but was still fighting.

Day6 Sun 29-Oct-17 11:31:21

but I feel the Waspi ask is not realistic

I do.
We have paid into our state pension all our working lives.

It is NOT a benefit.
The government has STOLEN from us imo. If any other pension fund provider had done this - moved the goalposts and withheld money that is rightly ours there would be law suits galore.

I agree that we need age equality regarding pensions but the governments argument about how much time women would be on a pension does not hold water for women born in the 1950s who have been cheated out of their entitlement at very short notice and who are now suffering financial distress because they'd factored in state pension when theyd reached the end of their working lives.

I certainly did. I am entitled to no benefit top ups because I have an occupational pension which is 'enough for one person to live on' according to the DSS.

The cost of living has risen and my pension is a tiny, tiny fraction of the salary I earned and used to manage on. I struggle to manage my finances now, and this is not how I envisioned life in my 60s.

I feel very angry about it. Women in their 40s now have plenty of time to adjust. Women in their 60s have been left high and dry by state robbery.

Harris27 Fri 27-Oct-17 21:42:13

I'm really concerned I'm nearly 58 working in poor paid childcare and have arthritis/ asthma and struggle daily with this, However I've decided to bite the bullet taking painkillers and drugs to combat pain and keep going no choice 66 befire I retire x

Maggiemaybe Fri 27-Oct-17 00:27:13

GrandmaMoira, the higher rate pension was discussed earlier in this thread. Many of us will not get it, as years in which we were opted out do not count towards it.

It’s very frustrating for WASPI women to be told that well, they may have no state pension or bus pass till they’re 66, but at least they’ll get a higher pension then. Not true for many of us. I will be getting my pension on my 66th birthday in 3 years time, and it will be at the old rate, as this is significantly more than I would get under the new system, with a 41 year NI record.

Day6 Thu 26-Oct-17 11:14:51

'I’m not trying to minimise this but won’t it be a little bit sooner than you think or have I misunderstood.'

I shall go and have a look maryeliza. Thank you. I have stuffed all the pension stuff in a drawer in fit of pique. They moved the goal posts twice, didn't they? I remember thinking I will be just a couple of months off 66 before I get anything.

It's still a lot of years to be without the pension I thought I would get three years ago. I don't go to the hairdressers, dentist or optician. I cannot afford to. My children paid for new specs for me for Christmas last year. I found having to ask quite humiliating.

GrandmaMoira Wed 25-Oct-17 15:36:01

The other unfair issue with pensions is not being mentioned much. There is a new higher rate pension being paid to those who retired since last year. All those of us who retired before will continue to receive a lower amount so we have a two tier income level for pensioners.
One other thing for WASPI women, is that most of us started work at 15, so a working life of over 50 years for some mid 50s born women. I think setting a maximum of 50 years would help.

maryeliza54 Wed 25-Oct-17 14:56:43

Day I don’t quite understand - For Tiziz to get her pension next month ((Nov 17) her birthday must be before 5 September 1953. If you are 6 months younger that puts your birthdate approx March 1954. I thought that if you were born in March 1954 (from 6 onwards) you would get your pension in September 2019 so another 2 not 3 years to wait. I’m not trying to minimise this but won’t it be a little bit sooner than you think or have I misunderstood.

Day6 Wed 25-Oct-17 11:08:20

Tizliz, the whole thing is extremely confusing and unfair.

You are getting your pension now (October). I am a 54 baby, six months younger than you yet I have to ait until I am 66 before I get mine.

It is so unfair. I have ill health and no disposable income. I am entitled to no benefits to bridge the gap because I have an occupational pension, earned over 30+ years. I too was a single parent bringing up children alone, claiming no benefits and too bogged down in everything to worry about life after work.

I feel so cheated. I didn't want to be a burden on the state. But now in poor health and older I NEED my state pension in order to aid the quality of life. I have been without this pension for three years and have another three years to wait...I am being denied £40,000 and travel concessions which would change my life enormously.

It's not a benefit, it is a pension, a contract we signed when we entered into work, entitling us to a pension at the age of 60. That is what we all paid into and worked towards and we have been robbed.

Chewbacca Mon 23-Oct-17 21:43:31

I did check it RetiredRGN and you're right, it is 65.5, not 66.5. I corrected it further up thread. I'm still miffed about it though. angry

RetiredRGN Mon 23-Oct-17 10:54:12

Chewbacca Im June 1954 and will get mine March 2020 so your 66.5 years is wrong? recheck

Grannybeth Fri 20-Oct-17 09:55:24

That's not strictly correct. I will receive exactly the same pension at 66 as I would have at 60. All to do with COPE and not losing out