Women are ‘taken off the mat’ by state retirement age changes | Personal Finances | Finance

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Lynn Nicholls of the Norfolk Broads PAIN (Pension Action in Norfolk) Pension Group spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk and raised concerns about the lingering issues facing women who have had to wait longer than expected to take their retirement.

Ms Nicholls said she believes women have been taken off the “carpet” because of the state’s retirement age changes, leaving their retirement plans in tatters.

She said: “I compare it to an insurance policy. You take this insurance with the expectation that in the years to come it will mature. And then the insurance company says “you’re going to have to wait another six years.” This is what happened to us.

“We had the carpet under our feet and we weren’t warned this was going to happen, so we didn’t have time to change our plans. I had a year of opinion that I was not going to receive my pension at 60, it was going to be 65 years and two months. It is not at all time to reschedule everything.

“Most of us have had to work six more years, which is quite a long time. The first increase in 1995 took it to three more years, which would have been more acceptable. But then the act of 2011 arrived, we are now looking six years older than we expected when we started working.

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Ms Nicholls expressed disappointment at the lack of support women have received from the government on these issues as MPs did not respond to their communications. She believes 54,000 women are affected in Norfolk alone.

She said: “Each of our MPs has about 5,000 or 6,000 affected voters, but they have no support. We contact them and we are lucky to have an answer. They put us off with excuses and it’s quite disheartening.

“Our generation is being asked to carry the burden of the changes and it’s not just the changes in the state’s retirement age, it’s other things as well. The state pension went from the old to the new in 2016. So we got into that as well.

“The national insurance contributions you need to get a pension have gone from 40 to 30 and backup to 35 over our lifetime. We are not only losing the state pension income, but also the winter fuel allowance, the Christmas bonus and the bus pass for quite a few women across the country.

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She also explained how women who live alone can find these issues even more difficult to deal with without the support of a partner. However, even those who have a significant other can feel like a burden.

Of women trying to cope with retirement age issues on their own, Ms Nicholls said: “They find it difficult to keep working. It’s not that bad if you have a husband to support you. I was lucky, I could still finish working at 60, but I still have to rely on my husband for support. It’s not nice when you should have your own income.

She added, “A lot of us have elderly parents who we still care for, and it’s doubly difficult if you’re still working too.”

Another problem facing retirees is the backlog that has forced many people reaching retirement age for the first time to wait for their first payment. Ms Nicholls said this only exacerbated the woes of women who had to wait longer to retire.

She said: “The other big thing that comes up now is that women have waited six years, which is a tough job, and then they fill out their pension papers and find out that she is not. went to the bank. Once again, we are the ones who bear the brunt of it and we just have to smile and put up with it ”

Ms Nicholls pledged the group would continue to pressure the government to try to get things done and reach a resolution.

She said: “The question we ask now is, how long do we have to wait? I started my complaint in 2016 and all these years later we are no further ahead.

“Meanwhile, there are women dying who will never see their pension, there are women struggling, we are now entering another winter, and there are still no answers for us. We want to keep the pressure on. “

She called for a more flexible retirement age that would allow people to retire earlier at a lower amount, as well as an overhaul of the benefit system for the elderly.

Ms Nicholls called for “a more flexible approach” to the retirement age.

She said: “If you want to take it a little earlier, it will be at a reduced rate because you haven’t paid that much, but it would be an option for a lot of people as they get older.

“We would also like a little more leniency in the care in the benefit system. Because if a lot of our women do not have state pensions then they are forced to take out benefits which is so humiliating for someone in their sixties

Ms Nicholls explained that one of the group members had been on benefit for about five years because she couldn’t find a job and has to travel a long way to register for the Job Center every two weeks, having to pay the bus ticket for its benefits.

She said: “It has a ripple effect because we don’t have bus passes. I think they have to do things a little differently because the elderly have to register, so that they don’t have to go through so many hurdles. “

A DWP spokesperson said: “The government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state’s retirement age the same for men and women, as part of a long overdue move towards gender equality.

“Raising the state retirement age in line with changes in life expectancy has been the policy of successive administrations for many years. “


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