Discrimination and inequality
Diane PlayfordMarlane Rutledge Jill Robertson
Following on from a recent meeting with Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, we are very concerned that many women in West Sussex born in the 1950s may not be aware of the increase to their state pension age and consequently be unprepared for the devastating impact this could have on their retirement plans, family life and health.
Many will have had little or no notice of these changes, which happened as a result of amendments to State Pension Laws in 1995 and was then accelerated in 2011, leaving them with insufficient time to plan for the additional years they’ll have to wait until they receive their state pension.
Sadly, The Department of Works & Pensions (DWP), and the government, completely refuse to acknowledge their part in the lack of timely and sufficient information to all the women affected, which amounts to maladministration at the very least. There is a growing group of women in West Sussex who support Women Against State Pension Inequalities (WASPI), whose aim is to ‘To achieve fair transitional State Pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s affected by the changes to the State Pension Laws (1995/2011 Acts)’. There is also an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which several local MPs support, including Co-chair, Tim Loughton MP for East Worthing, Shoreham and Lancing.
We would urge 1950s women to check their state pension age https://www.yourpension.gov.uk and to contact their MP if the date they had expected their state pension to be paid has changed with insufficient or no notice.
There are nearly 8,000 women affected in the Horsham District and another 8,000 in Arundel and Southdowns; some born in the years 1953-54 are unaware they can actually be pro-active to achieve compensation, by talking to their nearest WASPI group.
The continual delay (shifting the goal-posts) also means that other benefits such as free bus passes, dentistry and opticians services and pension credits will not be available for a longer period.
If you are still working over 16 hours per week you will also continue to pay National Insurance (in some cases) until your state pension age, which usually takes you beyond the 35 years contribution required to claim a full state pension.
WASPI have an easy to complete DWP complaint letter templates available – see https://www.waspi.co.uk/action. Many women have worked since they were 15 and have not benefited from equal rights in their careers and often were not permitted to join company pension schemes. This is discrimination and inequality at its worst – just because they were female and born in the 1950s.
We would like to further draw your female readers’ attention to recent articles and news:- https://www.facebook.com/StephenLloydEBN/posts/2169754046633552
Thank you for the opportunity to alert and inform West Sussex women of this dire situation. They can contact WASPI Bognor & Chichester South Coast Group in the first instance with any queries at [email protected], stating name and post code.