Personal stories

 

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Disadvantaged within my own family
Linda 1954
I am the youngest of 3, my sister born in 1958 and my brother born in 1952. Our childhood was very average with Dad working in London and Mum at home bringing up the family. My sister and I went to a secondary modern school but our brother went to a public school. He was given every opportunity imaginable to work towards a good career. My sister and I were brought up being told we just needed a job from the age of 15 when we would leave school, until we got married. Our husbands would then provide for us, and we would be housewives. I strongly believe on this point, women were definitely disadvantaged educationally.

The next point is, when we had children, it was unheard of that women would have paid maternity leave and return to the same job. When the children were starting school there was an opportunity to get a part time job. The jobs available would be cleaning, waitressing, retail, etc, the kind of jobs that would be called ‘women’s work’. There were no equal opportunities, in fact the terminology ‘equal opportunities’ didn’t exist.
When my eldest son was born in 1976 my NI payments ceased, meaning I have to pay money to the DWP to get my full pension. Again this means I was disadvantaged

I left school with 3 o levels, my brother got A levels
My jobs have been - telephonist, receptionist, retail,etc. My brother is an accountant.
My sister received her pension at 60, my brother at 65, I’ll get mine in March 2020 when I will be 65 and 9 months. Again disadvantaged, and this time within my own family.

I had to move away from my family in Croydon, to Peterborough, as part of the London overspill scheme. This was the only way we could afford to live in a house. The house was dependent on my husband having a job to go to, it was irrelevant as to whether I had a job, another proof that women work was unimportant.

From this information I’m sure you can see that in my opinion the judgement that we have not been disadvantaged is untrue and doesn’t take into account what life was like for families, women and children. The way life was, mapped out our entire futures, including the fact we could work until the age of 60 and would then receive a state pension.
 
I don't know what the next 3 years hold 

Sheila, 'no fixed abode'

I left school at 18 and went straight into full time work, so I have always paid full NI - I have 45 full years contributions. My husband died at the age of 34, leaving me with 2 children to raise. When I met my new husband I voluntarily gave up my Widows Pension but continued to work while raising three children. 

We had always planned to sell up and retire onto a narrow boat, which we did in 2012 as the money from sale of our house would have kept us going for 3 years until I reached retirement age at 60.  But I found out from a work colleague that my SP age had increased to 66 just two months before we completed house sale; I never had any official notification. 

So I became self employed in 2014, working from the boat, as our savings had nearly gone. We only just managed to pay to keep our boat home on water this year as the costs are constantly rising. 

I can't claim JSA or any other benefit as I'm classed as 'no fixed abode'!!!  

I don't know what the next 3 years hold as not much money comes in from my business. Sometimes I have to decide between fuel for the boat (as we have to keep moving) or food on table. Very scared now.

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Work is getting harder 

Anne, Stockport

I always thought I would retire in 2014 when I reached 60 and my husband would be 66 then we could do things together and help our kids look after their children so they could work. I got a DWP letter in 2012 to say my SP was to be July 2020!!!
 

I was so shocked I was shaking and my husband didn’t believe me. I have had to carry on work as well as nurse my house bound father until his passing in 2017, and now I have to see to my mum, who has Alzheimer’s, every day! 
 

I’m finding it hard to stay positive and jolly for my mum's sake and work is getting harder. 

 

I feel we have all been robbed and no one cares!

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I can't face the Job Centre 

Shirley, Weston Super Mare

I am 64 years of age and was made redundant three years ago after nearly 20 yrs with the same company, which thought I had my state pension so I would be OK!  I went through hell at the Job centre.  I had numerous interviews but employers wanted younger people..... 

 

Disabled since vehicle accident 40 plus years ago and I have mobility issues.  I was sanctioned for going away for my 40th wedding anniversary as the Job centre adviser was on holiday on the day I should have signed on. 

 

I was eventually offered a job but the 74 yr old in the job refused to leave! So I'm now unemployed again. But I can't face the JobCentre and I can't face working either as I was bullied and mocked at my last job. My small private pension is now my only income. Feeling Demoralised. 
 

Not getting my pension at 60 has meant having to downsize my home to survive.  My health issues now include diabetes .  My mental health has been badly affected by the treatment I received at the Job centre and my  last two employers.  Husband has to support me on his company pension - he is also affected by state pension age rise to 66 and he returned to work to help us survive. 


Had letter in 2012 informing me of uplift of age nothing prior to then. This was a mere 18 months notice.....

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I have fought hard against adversity

Tina, Bristol

I have not had an easy life, however  I have fought hard against adversity. 

 

I was in a fatal car crash as a passenger when I was 18 years old, a month before my wedding. My fiancé and best friend were killed. I was lucky to survive and initially they thought I would lose my right arm, but fortunately it was saved (I was the first person in Great Britain to have the whole of my right arm plated and pinned successfully).  

 

I returned to my job in the Bank and later received compensation which I invested in a deposit on a small house. 

 

I married a few years later and had 2 children, but then divorced. I returned to work and didn't claim any benefits, even though I only earned a small amount working nights as a nursing auxiliary, plus I received a token maintenance payment. There were times I was down to my last tin of beans desperately waiting for my maintenance cheque, having to phone the bank for an overdraft.

 

So I had worked hard and studied, eventually becoming a Manager in a Care Home. But interest rates on my mortgage were high and I had the stress of being a single parent. 

 

I eventually remarried and we bought the house of our dreams about 11 years ago to find that within 6 months of moving in that I had breast cancer. We had pushed ourselves to do this after starting again together so my pay was vital. So I decided I had to return to work between my operation, chemo and radiotherapy.

 

I became poorly and distressed after losing my job in July. I am now 63 years old with little chance of getting another job and have my dignity and self respect stripped from me. I am told I cannot claim unemployment or job seekers allowance as my husband has a good wage, however we still have a large mortgage and cannot survive without my wages.  Sadly this means we now have to sell our hard earned home.

 

I am not a ‘hanger on’ - I only want what I paid in for since I was 15, and what I am now entitled to! I have worked all my life and believed that if you worked hard and tried hard you would get on in life. Theresa May needs to compensate me and other 1950's born women like me! 

 

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Government Gateway website is a disgrace

Carol, Exeter, Devon1954

My husband had a heart attack August 2012.  Soon after I got a DWP letter to say I had to work a further 6 years before receiving my state pension. 

 

The same year we lost two aunts, and one of my son-in-laws got knocked off his bike by a car at the time my daughter was 6 weeks pregnant. I saw my doctor at the time and he put me on antidepressants - I took the tablets for around 3 years before coming off them.

 

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Dementia in April, 3 years ago and suffers with incontinence as well as memory loss. Up to April this year (2018), I went to see her up to 4 times a week (my sister-in law is her main carer.) We (the family) are trying our best to keep her in her home which takes time and patience.

 

I have a part time job (19.5 hours a week) £8.00 per hour so I am one of the lucky ladies! However, I have been asked to drop my hours to 15 per week recently. 

 

I also have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren who I help when I can. I was hoping to do much more but with being forced to work 6 years longer I feel I won't be much use to anyone soon!! 
 

My husband took redundancy Jan this year (2018) which means we are living on my part-time wage, his and my small private pensions and our savings. 

 

Please, please realise what this is doing to us women? This injustice is stopping parents/grandparents helping with childcare, caring for elderly parents, volunteering work, the list goes on.

 

Also no free bus passes until we retire, although this is looking like being taken away from us when we get to 66.

 

The DWP website is useless. Last year I asked for a forecast. At first, the website was unable to give me a date. I eventually wrote to them. They responded with two forecasts, one being that I could work to 65 years and 3 months and claim a reduced pension of £155.14 (retire January 2020) OR if I wished to receive the full pension of £159.37 a week I would retire September 2020.

 

Yesterday, 15 October 2018, I went on the Government Gateway website again to check my forecast.  A message came up: "This site may not be working as expected"!! and will be closing March 2019!! It then only gave me one option of retiring, in September 2020, 6 years after my 60th!!! This website is a disgrace. Is it any wonder 1950's born women feel they are being ignored and badly treated?? And the finger is still being pointed at us that it is our fault!! 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Much appreciated.   

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I am now homeless

Anne, Shepherds Bush 

I took early retirement from nursing due to wear and tear on my feet and depression, anxiety and panic attacks. 

 

But the pressure was increased by DWP and benefits system!  I was put on Work Programme which caused a severe relapse as still feeling very unwell and lost 2 stone in weight.  I was finally referred to a dietician who referred me to an eating disorder clinic.
 

I then had to leave my home due to years of domestic abuse and I am now homeless and waiting since October for sheltered housing.
 

I have been doing cleaning work but finding it extremely hard.  I recently discovered that the HR department have told prospective employees they have not heard of me....


When I was requesting early retirement the doctor said, "You have 2 years to wait for your pension, it is a long time".  In fact it was eight years!!!  I would not have taken early retirement if I'd known this but opted for redeployment instead.   Also my Unison Rep did not know it would be eight years.


What a bloody mess.

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I found out at 58

Loraine, 65, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

I found out at 58 about the pension age change when a work colleague who was considering retiring checked her pension and discovered the age for receiving it had been changed considerably. I checked mine and found I would not receive mine until nearly 64. 

A year later I was forced to take ‘voluntary’ redundancy when my job was deleted.  My husband was still working so I thought we could manage if we sold our house and moved into rented and lived on our savings. 

2 years ago my husband had to give up work due to ill health. I told him we would manage if we tightened our belts. I received my pension 18 months ago but our savings have almost gone and he doesn’t get his pension for another 2 years. We are really struggling to make ends meet and I am currently negotiating payment plans with credit card companies. 

I have been ill for the last 2 years and have had multiple scans, cameras, blood tests, consultants for all sorts of things. The only diagnosis they have come to is that it is stress related. I have lost 20 kilo in the last 6 months. 

If I had received my pension at 60 as promised all my working life, I am sure we would not be in this predicament now. 

We are both currently looking for work - which isn’t easy at this age. 

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I knew nothing

Janette, Kirkcaldy, Fife

I'm 64 but not able to claim my State Pension until I am 66 in Jan 2020!  I knew nothing about changes in SPA until just before my 60th birthday when my friend informed me I wouldn't get my pension until I'm 66!! I never received any official notification about any of the changes, so I went online to find answers. 

 

Due to reduced income (I am only working part time now as I'm unable to do full time due to heath issues) I have to rely on benefits to help pay rent & bills. I live on my own so don't have any financial help from partner. I'm recovering from a knee replacement earlier & waiting for a date to get the other knee done, so I'm not as mobile as I used to be! 

 

There are people in worse situation than me, but the problem is affecting everyone. Hopefully we can get a good result from legal team.

 

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This is a constant worry

Gill, Cornwall

“My husband retired last year at age 65 due to ill health and receives his state pension and some workplace pension.   As we still had a mortgage to pay we decided to move from Oxfordshire to a cheaper area/property.   

Although I have a small workplace pension,  I quickly realised that I would not receive the state pension at the date I expected and would need to find a part time job to supplement our income.  Since then, my husband suffered a stroke and a badly broken ankle.   I effectively became his carer for several months, however, did not qualify for carer’s allowance because he was not in receipt of benefits.  He has now recovered enough for me to look for part time work to supplement a low income.  

 

I am unable to claim my state pension even though I have 44 years qualifying contributions.  I suffer from arthritis so have a limited capability as to the type of work I am able to do and because we are in a rural location there are limited opportunities.  

 

I do not claim JSA even though I would probably qualify for NI credits because I feel apprehensive about completing the forms and the assessment process.  

 

I recently discovered that because of “contracting out” even when I am able to claim the state pension, it will be at a reduced amount - something that I was completely unaware of previously.  At age 62 I expected to be receiving my state pension after contributing towards it all my working life.  

 

From being a financially independent woman I now find I am completely reliant on my husband’s retirement income for us to survive.  If anything were to happen to him I would be in dire straits and facing hardship because of non-communication, misinformation and the unfair acceleration of changes to our qualifying state pension age.  This is a constant worry given my husband’s deteriorating health. This is also having a detrimental effect on my own mental health. “

Our generation have funded previous pensioners and expected to be as fairly treated as they were.  We went to work earlier than most of the current younger generations, did not have help with childcare costs as they do, did not have the same chances to access further education and we have already paid more than the qualifying National Insurance contributions and yet are expected to work longer still, pay in even more and receive less.  This is a triple whammy and on top of this, the changes mean we must also wait to qualify for other pensioner benefits such as a pension credit, bus pass and fuel allowance.  

 

I completely support the BackTo60/OneVoice campaign for the return of our rightful pensions. 

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This is NOT FAIR

Anthea, Arundel West Sussex

I was born 1957 and have always worked: part time from 16 to 18, then full time until I had my children.  Then I carried on working -  fostering children and teaching art to adults.

I believed I would retire 2 years ago at 60 so was aghast at age 59 when I found out via social media I would have to work until 66!!  I have NEVER been informed by DWP.  

 

This, combined with an injury I have suffered from for 2 years (I've had to continue to work throughout), caring for my elderly mother for the past 4 years, and my husband being 7 years older than me but unable to support me, has sent me into a deep depression, and state of anxiety. 


Every very waking hour I am fearful of the next catastrophe to befall us.


This is NOT FAIR, I HAVE WORKED FOR 44 years now and deserve to retire as was my contract with the DWP!!

 
How a country as wealthy as ours can believe this is not an injustice I have no idea.

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I'm scared to think  about my future

Anita, Skegness

I had no idea my pension age had changed from 60 to 66 until I requested a statement from the DWP which I received just before my 57th birthday..... way too late for me. 

 

I started work at 16 and I was an unmarried mother at 23, but the baby's father didn't want to know and I never got a penny of maintenance. 

 

I worked around when my parents could help with child care, then eventually got full time work. I had to live with my parents as I couldn't afford my own place so when my dad died and my mum had to move, I had to move with her. Then she got ill so I ended up being her full time carer until she died. 

 

I have recently had treatment for a bad back and neck and now have costochrondritis. I'm living on some money I inherited from my mum but that's not going to last for long and I never had the chance to save; for the first time in my life I'm scared to think  about my future. 

 

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I am tired and worn out

Jackie, Kidderminster. Worcestershire

I am a carer who will be 64 years old in November 2018. I have cared for children and adults for the past 40 years and I am tired and worn out. 

 

I have cervical spondylosis caused by constant lifting and wear and tear. My husband got his pension at 65 years old which was 5 years ago. However, he has to carry on working because I am working and we provide care in our own home.

 

I get no holidays and have no pension rights although I work for the local authority because they class us as self-employed!  

 

We have always known that we would need to downsize our house when we retire, but without my state pension we cannot afford to do this. I just have to struggle on. 

 

My husband is now disabled and I have to care for him too , he can barely walk but has had his benefits cut.

 

I just hope we make it to my 66th birthday.

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I can never forgive the governments involved

Anne, Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire

After working continuously from the age of 17, I was unexpectedly made redundant in October 2011, aged 57 – my husband’s work contract was terminated without prior warning 4 days later, aged 65.

 

At the beginning of 2012 I received a letter advising me I would not be eligible for my state pension until I was 65.  This was the first I had heard about a change to my SPA.

 

We married in 1985 when my husband was 39 and I was 31.  We knew if he retired at 65 and I at 60 there would be a period of 3 years during which either he would retire and receive his pension or, if he was able, he would continue working until I reached 60 and could draw my state pension.  Now, by the time I receive my pension my husband, God-willing, will be 73 instead of 68, as we expected.

 

I can never forgive the governments involved for making me wish away the time until I reach my SPA.  The older you become, the more precious time is – no-one should ever be allowed to deny people the right to enjoy what time they have remaining.

 

A friend who was in the same class at school became eligible for her pension in July, 16 months earlier than me but she is just 6 months older.   

How can that be fair?  Another from my class, 5 months older than me, died last May. 

 

Since 2011 I have been treated for severe depression and stress, as well as two physical illnesses that are stress induced.  I take various medications but, at best, all they do is help me to make it through each day.  There is never a moment when I’m not worried about finances.

 

Before we were out of work we had put aside enough money to pay off our mortgage.  Instead, we had to use this to live on.  When this ran out, my Mum stepped in and helped us.  The humiliation of being forced to rely on her financially when we were both in our 60's cannot be put into words.

 

She died just over 2 years ago and we inherited what was left from the sale of her house – after 4 years of her paying just under £1,000 a week in nursing home fees this didn’t amount to a lot but we anticipate it will keep us going for another year.

 

Having ‘lost’ somewhere in the region of £40,000 to £50,000 of my state pension we are now forced to sell our home before the money runs out.

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I was devastated

Helen, France

I'm Helen and I was born in May 1957 in Dublin. I came to the UK in 1977, did a series of low paid jobs but always worked. In 1984 I hit it lucky and got a nice job. No pension scheme for us ladies as we were not management, you had to be grade 1 or 2, our jobs were grade 4. 

(Probably totally irrelevant but just to set the scene about how things were back then - when I worked in an office in Dublin managers were allowed to smoke at their desks, they were all men and we females never even considered that this was unacceptable)

I was made redundant from my dream job in 1994, then did a series of other bits and pieces jobs until I landed a proper job with a building society in 1997. This job offered a pension, the first one ever for me. The pension would pay out at age 60 -  it WAS NOT POSSIBLE to continue working after that age and draw a pension from the same organisation, this was law not their rules.

I carried on working there till huge voluntary redundancies were announced in 2012, but I managed to hang on until 2013 - another years' service, another birthday, another pay rise. All these things would increase my enhanced redundancy package. I just needed to keep me until age 60 or so I believed. 

 

After I accepted redundancy and after the deadline had passed to change my mind, I got a letter telling me my state pension age would be 66. I was devastated, gutted, felt physically sick. You see my husband is 15 years older than me, and we had already bought a house in France that we would retire to; now I'd have to keep working, which meant maintaining two houses. So I got another job, for half the pay and travelling 2 hours a day. Then I managed to get a job with another building society, this time within walking distance, but still less than half they pay I'd been on before. 

As I approached 60 I was going through emotional turmoil. Hubby would be 82 by the time I could retire and just after I was made redundant my Dad passed away aged 82, doctors said, well its his age, only to be expected. My poor hubby was at home all alone every day bored, not at all what we had hoped for!  So I jacked in the job and we moved to France. Yes, we have to live frugally but we hope to sell the house in UK. However, we are now worried about the implications of Brexit on our pensions.
 

I have no children, never claimed any benefits, both educated abroad, me in Ireland and hubby in France. 
 

Now - Hubby can't have a form SI; he worked 53 years in UK but gets a tiny pension from France. I worked all my life in the UK, and had I been in receipt of my state pension I would have had a form SI. I'm now self employed in France as we don't have enough income, and in doing so I will build up a tiny entitlement here, which means UK wont pay for me either. I feel robbed, cheated and exploited. I'm upset but feel so lucky when I read some of the other very sad stories. It really shouldn't be allowed to have happened.

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(S1 Form - Health Insurance Cover in France)

I hope we get justice!! 

Kerry, Stockport Cheshire

I am 60 and in poor health. I've had 3 brain aneurysms, I have COPD and have had part of my thyroid removed. 

 

I'm still working four days a week and I am tired all the time; it takes me so much time just to to get up!! I do not know how I am going to work another 6 Years! ! Am at the doctors all the time!! 

 

I hope we get justice!! 

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I feel I don't have a life

Lynne, Wakefield

I was born in1955, so my state pension is not now payable until I am 66.    I had to retire from doing my job as HAC in an hospice because of long shifts combined with ill health (COPD) and caring for a disabled husband;  I just could no longer cope. This has left us managing on my husbands pension (he is 9 yrs older than me, born in 1946). To say our quality of life is just an existence is putting in mildly!! 

 

My parents died young and I was left to bring up my brother and sister from young ages, 8 &11.  Then I had 2 children of my own; life was difficult, but I worked full time and provided everything for them.  

 

Now, when looking forward to having a little time to myself to relax and enjoy life, the government has decided to take more blood from my body for another six years.  I have a further 3 years 4 months to wait from now before I get my state pension; I just hope I last that long. 

 

If a bank had stolen our money, we would be taking them to court.  This is so unfair; I feel I don't have a life. 

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My family need me

Wendy, Kilmarnock East Ayrshire

I was born 1959, started work at 15. I am divorced, I have a mortgage and I'm still working, but my work can be very stressful and demanding and is taking it's toll.

 

I had hoped to retire next year at the age of 60 to help my family out by looking after my grandchildren.  I can't help them financially but by giving my time it would help in a big way. My family need me and I cannot help them.

The life I thought I could have at 60 is no longer possible. It is such an unfair and unjust situation;  depressing and so worrying.

 

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All I want is my pension

Linda, Chelmsford Essex

I am 61 and working 38 hours a week. I raised 3 children on my own as my husband died in 1988. Life had always been pretty tough. I live alone now. 

 

My income is low and I live in a rented house so nothing left for luxuries. My quality of life is terrible.  I go to work and then home to rest day in day out.  In fact last December I started a second job  working in patient records dept NHS a couple of evenings a week to be able to buy food and clothes! 

 

I have been severely deaf since 2012 and this makes work more exhausting as I struggle to hear speech. I was saying at the time it happened "good job I will be retiring in a few years". I used to be enthusiastic about life and was proud to be British but now I feel depressed, lonely, worn out and very let down by this government and country.  I feel low all the time.

 

I fear losing my job will lead to me losing my home as there is no safety net at all. I am worried how I will keep warm this winter .

 

I found out in 2014 ( from friends) that my SPA was now 66. I am so upset. I never received any official notification about my pension age increase.  I am horrified at the speed in which they have increased it, many of my friends only a few years older than me received theirs at 60. This huge increase has happened so fast ( without notification) and its not fair!!!!!!

 

I really feel this government want poor working class people to die young!!  No one gives a damn about working class single women of my age group. 

 

All I want is my pension so I can relax and spend quality time with family and friends, rather than feeling tired all the time from working full time in 2 jobs until I'm 66.  

 

I am a pensioner without any pension !! 

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12 months pay last 2 years

Carol, Liverpool

I am 63 years of age and still working although I have Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. I have now been offered redundancy and I will leave work at age 64 and will make my 12 months pay last 2 years. We are also selling our house and buying a joint property with my daughter so we can use the money from the sale of the house to fund our retirement. I realise I am lucky to be able to have this opportunity as many don’t.  

 

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I lost my independence

M. South Harrow

Thank you for this opportunity. I’ve still almost three more years before I reach State Pension age. 

I started full-time work Oct 1977, after studying art & design. From 1982 I was a self-employed illustrator. Income was irregular & contracts hard to come by, especially after the banking crisis of 2008. I did my very best to continue work, even during traumatic times personally. My late Dad was a veteran of WW2 but died by suicide in 1986. My late Mum & late Sister both overdosed and had several chaotic suicidal episodes. I’m acutely aware of my fragile mental health & the importance of  self-care.  I kept working as best I could, paying NI throughout 41 years. 

Menopause is rarely mentioned in discussion of pensions equality, women are just assumed to ‘get on with it’. But my energy for work slowed significantly, with caring duties for elderly family members blended into a demanding routine.

Age 61, I suffered a heart attack & lost my regular client, who found alternative contributors to finish my project. I then scraped by on JSA, and experienced my first severe panic attack while at the local Job Centre on being told I was fit to begin work, even though still signed off by my GP & attending cardiology appointments. Now on heart meds for life, and had never claimed benefits before. I sincerely wish I never had to claim.

After lengthy & exhausting Atos assessment, mandatory reconsideration and appeal, ESA was awarded. This was paid for 365 days. Thereafter I was ineligible as my partner was working & had savings. I lost my independence. My partner became my carer & financial supporter. The relationship suffered, & we’re still trying to adjust to what is a great challenge to former equality.

A bad fall age 62 caused a four-part fracture to the head of my right humerus. I waited 4 weeks (arm dislocated) for surgery - hemiarthroplasty at local Northwick Park Hospital. Then began a lengthy & painful recovery. Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are ongoing. Right arm raises now only 45º. I couldn’t work as before and became depressed, having regular ‘meltdowns’ in frustration at my altered mobility.

I experienced nightmares & flashbacks to Dad’s suicide. Samaritans have been an essential support, especially as the wait time for GP-referred CBT counselling for anxiety & depression was 6 months. Counselling has helped, so far. I can return by ‘self-referral’ but would be on a waiting list again. So I maintain regular email contact with Samaritans ‘Jo’ who encourages mindfulness of my mental health.

Lack of pension notification by DWP caused great stress & anger. My only letter came in Oct 2012, just over two years before I thought I would receive State Pension at 60. A depressing shock to myself & my partner as no time to plan differently. Although HMRC were regularly in contact about my tax & NI matters over the years, I received no leaflet or info about the rise in my State Pension age from them.

I read about WASPI in 2015. I visited my MP Gareth Thomas (Labour, Harrow West) in Dec 2015 to raise the unfairness of rapid State Pension age increase with no time to plan. He said that the NI fund was very healthy, and could offer no explanation but says he is supportive. All shades of government seem to have created this injustice? Advised by WASPI, I completed a complaint of maladministration to DWP. It was allocated to ICM in March 2017. When I asked for an update in April 2018, I was informed my complaint was accepted for investigation by ICE in June 2017. They have not contacted me since.

I have been refused Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as only awarded 4 points at assessment. I appealed for mandatory reconsideration, and feel disturbed by this lengthy, brutal process from Atos/DWP. Supported by Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD) I’m now waiting for a PIP tribunal date, which I’m advised by HM Courts & Tribunals Service could take up to 44 weeks!!?  I feel I’m being pushed to beg the government for what I thought was my due?

I'm now reliant on a very small savings pot and the kindness of my partner, who now works only part-time and is also devastated by the situation. I used to pay 50% towards household expenses & feel ‘useful’ in society. I volunteered as secretary of our wildlife garden community, as an instructor at beginners’ tai chi/qi gong, and as community champion for our street. No more. 

We are now looking to sell our home of 31 years, to fund the gap in my State Pension.

I feel betrayed and let down by governments, depressed and hopeless. Also a degree of ‘shame’ that I didn’t plan well enough, or make enquiries soon enough? Women of my age suffer negative comments from detractors who seem arrogant in their superior financial knowledge. There is little empathy & it’s hard to maintain faith in any positive outcome. Many in society don’t understand. 

Thankful for the support of other 1950s born women I’ve met, and to all the pension awareness groups. Extremely fortunate that I have a 60+ Oystercard for free local travel. So unfair that whole UK doesn’t have this! Very aware that there are women in far greater need than myself.

 

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I had given in my notice

Gail, Cambridgeshire

In November 2013 I gave the required 2 months notice to retire from my employment, believing that my State Pension would become payable in January 2014. A week later I checked on the DWP website on how to claim my pension. It was then I saw my retirement age would be 62 and a few months. Whilst upset I had given in my notice and thought I would manage for 2 years.  I then found out the date had been changed again to 65yrs 4 months.  No letters had been received.


So I had to find at least some part time work.  I am still working and having to juggle caring for my wonderful 91 year old mother and trying to do my bit for my grandchildren.


It was not until I wrote to DWP for a pension forecast and my retirement date was confirmed as being May 2019.
 

Currently I have contributed 48 years of NI, although despite that I will still will not qualify for a full pension due to contracted out NI, not that I was aware that this would affect my SRP.  I have been told that there is nothing I can do now to receive the new full pension.

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I worked for the DWP

Anna, Plymouth, Devon 

I was born in 1959. I currently live in Plymouth, Devon and confirm you have my explicit permission to use the statement below about my work in the DWP with regards to change to SPA.

 

My name is Anna and I worked for the DWP for 36 years until 2011.  During that period I spent time in a Job Centre around the time the changes in SPA were being suggested and eventually introduced as a change in the Social Security Act.  Being on telephony I expected we would be given guidance as I was sure there would be an increase in enquiries - nothing was said, no memos given. 

 

Although the info was on our internal intranet, which only DWP staff could access, there was no mention of a mail drop to customers who may be affected. I know this as I fell into the category and had a sister in law born in 1954.

 

Up to my leaving the DWP, as far as I am aware there was no letter campaign for the change in SPA.

 

The impact on me is probably less than others because I could see this nightmare coming right from the get go. In effect I had notice of the changes due to the DWP internal intranet system. However, I was sacked after a long term health condition changed and I came off seriously strong medication which caused withdrawal effects.

I feel completely cheated

Anne, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire

My husband took voluntary redundancy in 2006 and in 2007 I gave up my full-time job. We had always wanted to start our own gardening business and as my husband now had his works pension it meant we could manage financially as we had made a 10 year plan.   Unfortunately this plan revolved around the fact that  I would be 60 in 2016 and would be able to claim my state pension which would mean we could then retire.  I then found out I would not receive my pension until I was 66.  This meant we would need to continue gardening until I was 66 and my husband would be 69.  Unfortunately we have both received injuries caused by the heavy work and as such have had to give up our business.  Whilst we manage on our works pensions it has nevertheless impacted on our lives. 

I feel completely cheated.  I left school at 15 and went to secretarial college and have worked hard all my life since the age of 17.  when our children were young I even worked evenings and weekends  to make ends meet doing cleaning work wherever I could get it - including cleaning the mortuary at the local hospital!  At one time I juggled two jobs using my lunchtime to drive from one to the other.  That was our generation’s work ethic and now we are being told we can take apprenticeships etc. it is disgusting the way we are being treated.

I realise there are many women far worse off than I but I wanted to add my story for the cause.

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When I get home I can’t move

Aileen, Halifax

Born November 1954, attended Grammar School then university, on leaving I stayed at home to look after my mother who had MS and helped my father with our small farm and did a part-time job at a plant nursery where I’d worked since 13 as a Saturday job. My grandmother also needed help at the same time. I married in 83 and my mother and grandmother died in 84. We bought a house on marrying to live in while we built another and I did a lot of work on that such as the electricity fitting, decorating and landscaping. I had my first child in 86 and twins in 88, my husband was a merchant navy officer and was away at sea for 4 months at a time so I didn’t have much help or sleep for several years. He was made redundant and became self-employed and I did the book-keeping and answered the phone.  We moved twice and then bought a house which needed knocking down and rebuilding, we lived in a caravan while doing that and again I did a lot of work on that. In 97 I started a part-time job which became full-time delivering books, only three of us worked there. 

2003 I was divorced, the mediator never mentioned pension ages only that things were altering but she didn’t know any details but that I would get a widows pension !!!, I got the endowment policy (and the caravan) while he kept his pensions.

My daughters came to live with me and I had enough to buy a house with a mortgage. I then started working at B & Q but minimum wage was barely enough to live on and after 4 years I became self-employed as a gardener and artist. My father began needing help about this time so it was simpler to do this then I could help him whenever he needed it. I became very busy gardening and it took over from painting although at first I sold a quite a lot through galleries. I am still gardening now but whereas at first I could work 5 days a week doing at least 6 or 7 gardens everyday now 10 years later I am down to 3 days and 4 or 5 a day and it’s hurting a lot, when I get home I can’t move and getting out of bed in a morning is a steady process. 

My father died 3 years ago and had needed a lot of help around the house as he had difficulty walking, because he could feed and wash himself I couldn’t get the carers allowance as the rules had changed so I did his shopping, gardening, house maintenance and drove him when he need to go out while earning a living. 

I will have to give up after this year but I have another two years to wait for my pension so will have to live off my savings which I didn’t want to do as I was hoping to use them to supplement my pension. I will try and find a part time job but don’t have high hopes or paint pictures again and hope to make ends meet that way. 

I have never had any information of the pension age changing from the govt although they have written to me regularly on everything else and have never been in job centres where I might have seen the information if there had been any. I wasn’t offered any pension info at B & Q as I wasn’t there long enough full time. I had thought sometime in the mid 2000’s it would be going up to 63 for me but it wasn’t until a friend told me to look on the gov website (which I didn’t know about) in 2013 that I couldn’t retire until 66 in 2020. I should have known, I read newspapers, but not the right ones it seems and I have had computers since they first came out. 

So I have never had chance to build either a career or a private pension, on leaving university I had hoped to go on to do Town Planning but it wasn’t to be.

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I feel low all the time

Linda, Chelmsford Essex

I am 61 and working 38 hours a week. I raised 3 children on my own as my husband died in 1988. Life had always been pretty tough. I live alone now. 

 

My income is low and I live in a rented house so nothing left for luxuries. My quality of life is terrible.  I go to work and then home to rest day in day out.  In fact last December I started a second job  working in patient records dept NHS a couple of evenings a week to be able to buy food and clothes! 

 

I have been severely deaf since 2012 and this makes work more exhausting as I struggle to hear speech. I was saying at the time it happened "good job I will be retiring in a few years". I used to be enthusiastic about life and was proud to be British but now I feel depressed, lonely, worn out and very let down by this government and country.  I feel low all the time.

 

I fear losing my job will lead to me losing my home as there is no safety net at all. I am worried how I will keep warm this winter .

 

I found out in 2014 ( from friends) that my SPA was now 66. I am so upset. I never received any official notification about my pension age increase.  I am horrified at the speed in which they have increased it, many of my friends only a few years older than me received theirs at 60. This huge increase has happened so fast ( without notification) and its not fair!!!!!!

 

I really feel this government want poor working class people to die young!!  No one gives a damn about working class single women of my age group. 

 

All I want is my pension so I can relax and spend quality time with family and friends, rather than feeling tired all the time from working full time in 2 jobs until I'm 66.  

 

I am a pensioner without any pension !! 

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I sit in the dark

Colleen, Aylsham

 

I'm 63 years old and I started work at 15. When I got married at 17 I never had a honeymoon and I started my new job 2 days after my wedding. I could only work part time due to having 3 children to look after. I worked evening shifts when my husband came home from work. 

 

I never received any letter about my SPA and only found out when I signed on for JSA at 59. I'm still on JSA and jumping through hoops at the job centre, facing sanctions if I am late.  Benefits have remained at £73 per week since 2015 even though prices and housing costs are going up all the time.

 

I have to go to food banks to put food on the table. I do not have my heating on and I sit in the dark to watch TV. 

My medication for high blood pressure has been raised 5 times to stabilise it but it's still high. Now I have an under active thyroid too. 

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Disgusted and angry

Donna, Lincoln

 

I have been working since I was 16.
I was never notified about the change in my pension retirement age. 

I have rung the DWP and was advised I am at the max payments for my pension.

I am now sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and unable to work so I am having to use my savings to live on when I should be getting my pension. The government are stealing from me .

Disgusted and angry to be in this position. 

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A dramatic impact

Suzanne, Plymouth Devon

 

I began paying National Insurance in 1971 at the age of 16; expecting to collect my pension at age 60. I regularly received National Insurance demands from HMRC but never received notice of any change to SPA; just heard rumours from similar age friends. The hike in pension age has had a dramatic impact financially, psychologically and physically.

 

As a young married woman in 1974, with no financial means to pay for care, my husband was the sole earner, on a low wage.  Child benefit was not paid for the first child back then.  No such thing as Family Tax credit either!!  But I was a no quitter.  Meals were supplemented with lots of vegetables!!  I knitted and sewed, staying at home looking after our son.  We scrimped and saved and bought our first little house; then within two months interest rates had escalated, but we struggled on and NEVER sought financial help from ANYONE !!!

 

Our daughter arrived 4 years later, born with a very rare and complex health condition. In and out of hospital for the following 9 years, I was unable to work because she needed my care. She then developed type 1 Diabetes linked to the aforementioned condition.

 

When my son was 11 I secured a part time job to fit in around my husband's small business. With extortionately high interest rates, we eventually lost our business and house to pay off our debts.  N.B We paid off our debts, we didn't want to go bankrupt.  We had our pride if nothing else!!  

 

During the years as a part time worker I never had the opportunity to pay into an occupational pension, employers didn't put part time staff into a pension scheme. At 44 years of age, I trained to work in Care, I took promotion and a fulltime position.

 

But within one week of commencing my new post and my daughter going to University, my son took his own life in 1999; the pain and anguish was unimaginable. My hair went white overnight, the menopause kicked in, I suffered a prolapsed lower disk, developed Osteoarthritis and depression.  Our daughter spent 3 years shutting us out, focusing on her degree, but suffering dreadfully with her own grief. 

 

My dear dad then died of Prostate cancer and my mother fell apart, putting further pressure on me for emotional and practical support.  I was at breaking point and changed my job to part time to care for my mother, support my daughter and now look after my sister's baby daughter as childcare was so expensive.

 

From 2000, until May 2017 I helped deliver a DWP contract, supporting people with disabilities and health conditions back into work, providing tailored support to enable them to sustain employment. Tragically last year, I lost my beautiful niece; I hit rock bottom. 

I continued desperately to support my family including my mother who had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer and Dementia. 

 

I was informed by my manager that we all had to reapply for our jobs again. The new contract dictated large caseloads, making individual support untenable.  Enough was enough, I took a small redundancy package (equivalent to my monthly wage) which I have stretched to last until now, naively thinking that I would have secured employment by now!!

 

I don't sleep well at night worrying about our future.  My husband is working all the hours he can to support us both.  Despite being in constant pain I am still trying to secure work as I have another 2 years and 8 months before I get my State Pension.  Even though I have 44 qualifying years!!! 

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I will fight

Karen, Wakefield and Bradford  - Wherever I can lay my hat!

 

I’m a 59 year old woman who is now single after bringing up three beautiful children and caring for my husband. I worked full time before they were born and went back to work shortly after and have paid my dues for forty years.

My life started to take a downward spiral after a backwards fall on ice in February 2013 (caused by negligence of a third party, but that’s another story!) which left me in a bad way. Before this I was working as a Secretary/PA, working in excess of 40 hours per week, and absolutely loved the job.  Then the fall happened, which immediately caused me to suffer with severe headaches, neck pain, problems with my balance, vision, sinuses, concentration, organisation, processing, short term memory, learning. My heart would race, I would struggle in getting oxygen into my brain, experienced fatigue, irritability, could not cope with any stress whatsoever, could no longer run, (in fact any physical exercise exacerbated my symptoms).  I couldn’t  stand noise or bright lights. I kept falling into walls and furniture. I couldn’t cope walking on uneven ground. Some days I suffered neurological symptoms and struggled to climb down the stairs.  

 

Eight months post injury I finally got a CT scan which was reported as unremarkable. Throughout this, I still managed to continue working, although I was far from well.  And now being single I was in need of an income and so was desperately fearful of losing my job. My work standard had dropped markedly immediately after the fall, I struggled, and eventually I was pressured into leaving by my bosses. 

 

Two years post injury and after attempting two further jobs, I was receiving acupuncture for the ongoing  pain and was issued a TENS machine. It was about the same time my Doctor refused to write further unfit notes and told me to go back out to work. I pleaded with her, I needed help, learning a new job had been so extremely difficult and with all my symptoms still ongoing.  

 

So I contacted the DWP as I didn’t know where else I could go. I told them the story, they booked me an appointment but this was a three month wait. I was low on money and didn’t know what to do, and so worried that I would run out of money and get into debt that I put my house on the market. I had an offer made within a couple of weeks. So my house was in the process of being sold by the time it came to my appointment. I walked in, to be met by a nurse. I asked if she knew anything about head injury, to which she replied she didn’t. She was apologetic and said she would arrange for me to be seen by a Doctor. I would get a letter in the post with another appointment. This never came. My house sale went through and I moved over to Wakefield to live with my son. The removal was very stressful and upsetting for me. I was absolutely heartbroken. 

 

Not realising the nature of my injuries at the time,  I had moved a lot of things which made me so much more ill. I spent most of my days in bed. A month later I got a phone call from the DWP asking if I still wanted the appointment. I said I did, and so another appointment was booked in another three months time. The appointment was with ATOS, 12 miles away in Pontefract at 9.00am. I got myself there early so as not to miss the appointment. I went in at 9.00am only to be told my appointment had been cancelled. Nobody had contacted me to tell me. ATOS said they didn’t know why and told me to phone the DWP. I phoned them as soon as I got back to Wakefield. They said it was cancelled because I had gone over the 6 month time limit for the claim.... but when they booked the second appointment they must have known! They also asked if I had savings which I didn't. They said I must have savings, having sold my house, and sent me away saying I was to live off my (non existent) savings!   
 

Six months later, still unwell, I went to London for a dynamic, upright MRI scan. This revealed I had a torn left alar ligament, a brain herniation, stretched brainstem, offset odontoid, stretched transverse ligaments, subluxed right Atlanto-axial facet joint and bulging annulus lower down spine. I was diagnosed with CCI and AAI. In other words a brain and spinal injury with instability. This was diagnosed by Professor Francis Smith the most senior and most experienced Radiologist in the UK. During this time I never knew anything about the rise in SPA. 


My injury was not fully recognised by the NHS Spine Consultant - whether these consultants are not experienced enough or they don’t have the resources to deal with it I don’t know, but the findings on my upright MRI scan were totally disregarded. I’ve been in touch with the PALS team to try get to the bottom of this, why crucial angles that indicate brainstem deformity, CCI and AAI are not measured by our NHS Radiologists and why they don’t report on brain herniations. I am now in the process of applying for PIP but not holding out any hope of getting it under the new rules and regulations. 

 

Getting my pension at 60 when I was supposed to get it, which will be in four months time, would enable me to just about manage financially. If I have to wait a further 6 1/2 years then all my years of hard work and hard saving will have amounted to nothing and I will go into retirement in poverty. I am not well enough to work and I should be able to claim benefits until I’m in receipt of my state pension.

So I will fight beside and fiercely support all the other #backto60 and #WASPI women right to the bitter end, because this is a grave injustice the Tories have done to us all. A dirty underhanded trick that is forcing many women into poverty and homelessness. Believing all their working lives that they would be able to retire at 60, only to be dealt this joker so late in life, is totally unacceptable. Corruption at its worst! Blatant theft of six years of their state pension 

It’s time to rise and get the chains out ladies! 

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Totally ‘let down’

Julia, Cambs

 

I was born August 1956. I left secondary school, just before my 15th birthday, to take up full-time employment. My parents were not financially ‘well off’ and could ill afford to fund any further education, so I had no choice but to leave and ‘earn my keep’. 

 

I married at 18 and had my first child in 1976, at the age of 20. I was working for Sainsbury's supermarket during my pregnancy and the Manager informed me that, "no allowances would be made for my condition" and I was still expected to lift heavy boxes of food. To protect my unborn baby, I was forced to leave and live off my husband’s income. 

 

We had a mortgage on our typical two up, two down house and it was a matter of a ‘hand to mouth’ life. When my daughter was born, there was no ‘family allowance’ given by the Government for a first born. In 1978 I had my second child, a son. I spent the next five years bringing up my children at home. My husband worked seven days a week and we used to go out, once a year, on our wedding anniversary. 

 

I eventually managed to get part-time evening work, cleaning business premises, and then I got term time work at a school, washing up. I could never afford to send my children to nursery and there were no Government benefits in those days, which would allow me to pay for nursery and be able to work full time as a result. 

 

Eventually, in 1986,  I went back to work full-time. It was a struggle working and running a house. Both my parents were dead and I had nobody to help with childcare during school holidays or when they were sick. In 1991, at the age of 34, I was successfully recruited as a Police Officer by Kent Constabulary. I spent the next two years on probation, working 7 day a week shifts. This took it’s toll on my marriage and we divorced the following year. Still, I continued with my police career in the knowledge I would have to take compulsory retirement at the age of 55. 

 

I remarried and my husband and I made plans for my retirement in 2011. I was allowed to take a small lump sum from my police pension and the plan was to live off this money until I received my state pension at 60. 

 

Imagine the shock I got, when at 59 years-old, I was told by the DWP I would not get my state pension until I reached 66! I was advised to get employment. Well, that is exactly what I tried to do!! Unsuccessfully...... I am now 62 and have had no success in getting employment, despite applying for numerous jobs. I am not entitled to any benefits because, I have a small police pension and my husband is expected to 'keep' me.... 

 

I am so angry that the DWP did not inform me of the change in SP age, which would have given me the opportunity to extend my police career (which I could have done, on a year by year basis) had I known about it. 

 

My husband retired with me and we now live month to month on our small private pensions. 

 

I thought that I would not have to struggle in my later years or to worry continuously about money.  I have never claimed a penny in benefits from the Government and feel totally ‘let down’. After writing to my local MP, the response was “longevity and equalisation” as an excuse for the age increase....... but no mention of the DWP failing to notify 1950’s women........... 

 

Both my parents died at 60 and 62 and women born in our era were treated like second class citizens in the workplace. I had to continuously fight to be treated as an equal and it is just a ploy by the Government NOT TO PAY OUT!!  

 

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In shock!

Helen, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

 

I am 61 years old and began paying National Insurance at the age of 15 and expected to retire at the age of 60 in October 2016.


In April 2016 I decided to find out what my state pension would be in the October, just 6 months to go..... I didn’t know the age had increased, I don’t read broadsheets or magazines and wasn’t on social media at that time. I had been made redundant in early 2013 and thought I could make my redundancy money last until I retired. When my forecast came through the post I was in complete shock! I was numb! The bottom of my world fell out! All questions were going through my mind; Why didn’t I know about this earlier? Why hadn’t I been informed? Why hadn’t I got a letter? Why hadn’t I read something about it? Why hadn’t I seen it on the TV?  Why hadn’t the government told me?


I was mortified! In shock! I broke down and cried my eyes out! I started shaking.....
 

More questions; how on earth would I manage now? How can I manage another 6 years? How can the government do this so called injustice and get away with it?

I was newly married, only been with my husband 6 years, and I was mortified that I would have to rely on him to keep me. I had always been independent, always. And here I was now, forced by the government to rely on a pittance of a state pension that my husband was getting. He doesn’t have any private pensions.

No way was I well enough to get another job. I’m truly tired, my health is not good, I struggle to even get up in the  morning. It’s a good job I don’t have to pay for all my prescriptions that’s for sure.

All of a sudden panty liners, hairdo’s, lipstick, deodorant, perfume, talc, moisturiser, hand cream, specs and all my personal stuff I had used for years became luxuries which I could no longer afford. I sit in my house with no heating on all day, I wear jumpers upon jumpers and cover myself in blankets because to heat my house would be too expensive. Talk about low self esteem......

What has the government done to me? And why?? I had been faithful, stuck to my end of the contract and paid my taxes and national insurance since I was 15 years old and for what? There isn’t a word bad enough for me to explain what I think of the treatment I've received from successive governments.
 

If a company did this they would be sued, and so should the government!! It’s a disgrace!  They are nothing but thieves, they have stolen 6 years of full pension from me....

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This is not equalisation

Gill, Northamptonshire

 

I was born in March 1959, worked since my teenage years, married, had children and worked part time to make ends meet. Part time work meant I didn’t have the privilege of being able to join a workplace pension scheme and any money that wasn’t paying bills or for food (which was never very much) was spent on my children’s needs.


Divorced in the eighties, at that time there was no recommendation that women could have any claim to any part of their spouses’ pension pot, I was certainly never advised I should claim.


I continued to work part time, bring up my children and eventually in the nineties commenced work for the NHS who did by that time offer part time/clerical employees the benefit of joining a workplace pension scheme. I joined and paid in to the scheme the NHS offered, not realising or being told it was in fact a contracted out scheme, as a woman who had spent the previous years working part time in a pension less environment I was never given an explanation…but that’s another story!!


After 16 years of working for the NHS working part time and then full time whilst also helping to care for my wonderful Mum who lived locally to me, my job was put at risk of redundancy. To cut a very long story short I took redundancy and also decided (as it was now 2012 and I only had a few short years until I received my state pension which I believed I was due to receive in 2019 at 60 years of age) I would also take a lump sum from my pension pot and start drawing my pension. This (I thought) would help me to pay off a few things and lighten the load so I didn’t go in to my anticipated ‘golden years’ of retirement in debt. 


I would at this point like to add I was never advised of the change in SPA, there was no talk in the media or letters written, there was no mention of ‘opting out pension schemes’ or trying to ‘sell’ a product to bridge the ever increasing gap...nothing.


I accepted redundancy, started claiming my pension and immediately got myself another job working slightly reduced hours for a local charity because I felt I could give something back to a good cause in the few working years I thought I had left to do until my SPA. The money was not good but again I felt I was in control of my finances due to the factors detailed above.


Within 6 months of my new role my husband (who was at this time nearly 60), suffered a TIA and although he made a good recovery thank goodness, he was not able to continue working in such a stressful job.  He took a job with less responsibilities and less stress for the sake of his well being…of course this also meant less income. Again, at this time we both believed he would receive his state pension and one year later I receive mine.


I have never received a letter from the DWP regarding the increase in SPA and I had not seen any media coverage and in fact only found out by chance on social media when campaigns like WASPI received some media attention. I am a person who is a professional and experienced in good administration practices, I am one who keeps letters, so I can assure you I would know if I had ever been notified. I still have a letter in my possession dated 3 February 2013 from HM Revenue and Customs informing me that I have 37 qualifying years up to 5 April 2012 and I only needed 30!  Of course it all then changed (moving the goal posts at the 11th hour!) and when my contracted out years were added I needed 44 years!!! At an age when I could not make up the difference......  But my point is, I still have the letter.


I believe we should have received at least 10 years notice for every 1 year increase as outlined for future increases in the Cridland report. I am tired of hearing that no woman has had their pension increased by more than 18 months, this is an unfair and outrageous claim. My SPA has increased by 6 years, that is more than a 10th of my entire life not just my working years, women of my generation have been targeted by more than one piece of legislation and the 18 months claim derives from the 2011 Act only.


Whilst people may argue that equalisation of pensions is fairer and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with that (although the reasons why women’s SPA was lower than men’s was historically because women tended to marry older men and they would reach retirement age at a similar time) the method of carrying this out is the unfair and unequal element. 


Furthermore, I understand ‘ring fencing’ of NI contributions was ceased some years back and I would like to know why this was and why we should be the ones to receive the ‘fall out’ for bad planning and short sightedness on the government/s part.


Had women born in the 50’s been given a level playing field to start with this may not have been so catastrophic… However, our generation has NOT been offered the opportunities to earn as much as men (the recent Gender Pay Gap statistics prove this is still not equal), join pension schemes, equal opportunities to progress in education and within the workplace, support with child care, rights to spouses’ pensions, even the NI system of contributions itself was not equal!! It is all very well saying it is equalisation, but this needs to be introduced when women have been given opportunities to make financial provisions - not like this;  this is not equalisation, how can it be? It is like starting a 100-metre sprint in a lane filled with pot holes and obstructions whilst everyone else has a clear lane.

 

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MIND THE GAP

Julie, Lake district

 

After passing the entrance exam I joined the Civil Service in 1980. My pay band was B8. The lowest grade bar one. The Handyman was only one grade less!!  I just missed out on the non contributory pension so signed up for the contributory pension. I worked full time as a Civil Servant for 32 years. I started as a Shorthand Typist in the Director’s office but within 3 years was promoted to PA. Note, my pay band was STILL B8 although salary increased a little as each year I reached another spine point. Once the highest spine was reached, however, that’s where my pay increases stopped.  In the early days some years we got a national pay increase - always a paltry amount.

 

My experience grew until I was Secretariat to various government Select  Committees, Advisory Groups etc. I continued with the PA duties too and was also organising and attending national and international conferences.  Plus playing a key role in preparing proposals to win contracts.  Note, I was still a B8. 

 

My appraisals were glowing. I was fit for promotion. But I was told that promotion wasn’t possible unless my boss was a grade higher!! So the reality was that the girl on the switchboard who answered the ‘phone and photocopied was on the same pay band as me. Quite a difference in work load and responsibility!  

 

I remained a B8 from 1980-2001. Not realising then the dire effect this would have on my occupational pension. I never heard that any male colleague’s promotion prospects were related to the grade of his line manager....

 

At this point I took a 2 year career break in Canada (unpaid but I remained on continuous service).

 

I returned to the UK just as my boss retired; the new boss was a grade higher!!! I saw an opportunity. The PA job wasn’t mine again automatically - I now had to compete for it, but I was successful and at last, after 21 years (at least 15 of those years being marked fit for promotion/performs well above her grade) I became a B7. One grade higher! And that’s where I remained.  I did get the odd contribution award as a pat on the head but promotion much earlier on is what I needed to have had those years to pay in more to gain a higher final pension.

 

However, now in my mid 50's I was exhausted.  My mum had developed dementia so weekends were spent helping my dad to care for her between working full time and frequently travelling with the job. There was also constant form filling and endless emails and phone conversations with siblings about mum’s state and safety and how much longer dad could cope. Something had to give! 

 

In 2010/2011 I remembered seeing a work statement that both my occupational and SP would be due in May 2018. Underneath was a statement saying SP was changing but no changes would come into effect until 2020. I remembered thinking I was lucky to just scrape in and I thought no more about it. I truly still thought my SP was 60 and I had no reason to think any more of it. Caring for someone with dementia and working full time was all consuming . You have no time or energy to think about yourself. 

 

At the age of 54 I decided to take voluntary redundancy and get an easier job locally, with no travelling, so I would have more energy to care for mum. However, on  speaking to HR I found out that rather than freeze my occupational pension until I was 60 and take the redundancy money, I could plough that into my pension pot and begin drawing the pension right away; this is what I did. However, the shock of how little it was compared to what I had given in terms of loyalty, my expertise, working long hours when necessary and giving the job my all was a kick in the teeth. 

 

I was due to receive £10,200 pa occupational pension. Some Directors expenses and hospitality allowance pa came to more than this!! Had I not ploughed the redundancy money back in it would have been around £7,000 pa. No enhanced full pension was offered. Still, I figured it would pay out monthly for life whereas the redundancy money would be used in no time on bills unless I could secure a local job.

 

Had I stayed until I was 60 I may have got around £3,000 pa more depending on what my earnings would have been during that 5.4 year period. Still, not a grand sum to see me into old age after a lifetime of working and paying into the pension scheme...... 

 

Sadly, my mum died suddenly before I could exit but I was not allowed to stop the process.... so I left the Civil Service in 2012. I found a local job just up the road to top up my occupational  pension and I’m still there,  part time. 

 

It wasn’t until 2015 that I realised I would not get my SP until I was 66 when I was advised by a colleague to ring for my forecast. I did not receive a letter from the Government at any point, in fact I’m still waiting for the letter we are all supposed to have received. I now go online to keep checking my forecast and I have checked they have my full NI history - However, I get the the lower SP as I was contracted out. If I continue to work another 6 years I may get a bit more I’m not really clear on that but if I retire before 66 my NI won’t have counted towards my pension for this extra 6 years I’m working from what I can gather!

 

I know I’m in a much better position than many women but the fact is I have paid in for two pensions. One paid up (albeit poorly) and the SP did not! 

 

I am now paying into a pension with my current Employer! It won’t be much but the 3 added together will help. I would not be still working if I had my SP now. All 3 of my pensions have been paid for out of my hard earned money. So to say SP is a benefit and to move goalposts is wrong. To devastate the lives of so many 50's women who have already earned the right to their SP at 60 who have now been working for 43 years + is disgraceful. Enough is enough. 

 

I hope my story is useful in terms of the inequality for women in the workplace from my era and the confusing information regarding SPA.

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Some days I wish I was not here!

Beverley, Astley, Manchester

 

I started work at the age of 15 work and worked until 2008 with no breaks to have children.  In 2005 I found out I had breast cancer (and I nearly died after they left an artery open) but I carried on working through all the treatments - Chemo, Radiotherapy and Herceptin. 

 

In 2008 I had to give up my job due to ill health - I could not carry on anymore and my husband is my full time carer (Fibromyalgia, under active thyroid, osteoarthritis in knees and hands, and anxiety.)

 

I am on ESA Support Group (had to go to tribunal to get into the support group in the first place!) I am on DLA indefinitely so now I am expecting the dreaded brown envelope invitation to apply for PIP, which no doubt I will be refused and will have to appeal, which will be another stressful time.

 

My husband will retire in May 2019 and I was so looking forward to that as £64.00 a week carers allowance is not a lot to live on.... only to find that when he gets his pension I will loose my ESA!!!

 

In 2017 we sold our home to downsize and pay off our mortgage because the Government took away mortgage relief!  We cannot do anymore!!!

 

We struggle from month to month and need financial help from my 85 year old mother in order to buy food! This is degrading. All this stress does not do my health any good and some days I wish I was not here!

 

If I had had my pension at 60 the pressure would have been off us and when my husband retires in May 2019 we could have started to enjoy life a bit more; but now we will have to struggle on on one pension until I receive mine in 4 years time.  With another 3 years and 3 months to struggle on I sometimes feel I cannot face it. 

 

The notice I received regarding my pension was a letter in June 2013 - I was due to retire in 2016! 

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Make a noise

Michelle, Milton Keynes

 

I turned 60 in March and I was so looking forward to starting to take it a bit easier. I did not know until last year that I have been forced to keep working for another 6 years and keep paying NI payments to even qualify for a pension. If I ever do, with the effect contracting out is having on all our pensions. 

I never received a letter or any notice of this change. We have been treated like we don't matter and we are expected to just accept our fate.  We are not going to do that. We all have our own personal stories but we are all being denied the right to have the pension we struggled to pay for. It is not a benefit. 

I took 5 years out to take care of my Mother and Mother in Law and now I have to repay a 5 year deficit. My husband has recently had treatment for prostate cancer and I am being made redundant from a charity which helps people over 55. Unfortunately they are unable to help me fight this injustice. 

I am a diabetic and as a chronic illness it will gradually get worse. I am looking for a new job but I face the possibility of not being able to work for the next 5.5 years. I will never then be able to receive a full pension. I am not in the position of receiving a large private pension. 

We are the carers of children and the elderly and we have been taken for granted. We don't object to equality but we need a fair transitional period. We could cope with waiting 2 years but not 6+ years.  

 

We need to make a noise and get our cause in front of the public. We need to change the public's attitude that we are whinging women. 

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So angry about this

Sue, Bournemouth

 

I was born in April 1955 and left School at 16 years and 1 week old. I went for an interview aged 17 (after working for a year) for a Clerk/Typist vacancy in a Garage.  I was asked by the male interviewer if I intended getting married soon and having a baby. These were the days when you got married around 19/20 years old.

 

I was married for 9 years to a Sailor from 1975 and when I divorced in 1984 I was told I had not been married long enough to get any of his Navy Pension.  I had two children by the age of 22 and as my husband was at sea a lot looked after the children mainly by myself. I only managed to work when he was not at sea, part time hours including an evening shelf filling job to help with the money. While we were married he just kept on working full time building up HIS Pension. I was told the house had to be sold as I could not afford the mortgage. This affected me financially and emotionally. So angry about this.

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I am totally devastated

Jan, Paisley Scotland

 

I will be 60 in December and was looking forward to retirement with my husband who is 8.5 years older and retired 8 years ago.  Working on for another 6 years means our precious time together will be so, so much less.  I am totally devastated. 

 

I am considering just giving up in December, what price do you put on happiness?  

 

I suffered a prolapse after the children and years of repair operations and still have pain and discomfort.  The children have left home so we are empty nesters.  Both the pets have passed away and will not be replaced as I am having to work.  I would dearly love to have more pets but I am the main animal lover.  This has basically ruined my life.

 

Thank you, please return pensions to 60 or at least stagger better, say 62, then 64 etc.

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We don't know where to turn now

Janet, Stockport

 

I am 4 years into a 6 year delay to receive my state pension.  Last year I had to give up work to look after my brother who was dying from multiple brain tumours;  he was 58 years old when he died 10 days ago.  There was no choice as social services could not provide the care.... 

 

So I now find myself claiming JSA. However now I have been told that benefit will run out in a few months time! Then I will get nothing as my partner [who is disabled] is now getting his state pension. 

 

I have worked all my life albeit in low pad jobs but have 43-44 NI credits. So worried now about surviving for two more years. We are already receiving housing benefit because of low income but that is all and we don't know where to turn now. 

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PLANNED Retirement in ruins

Terry, Staffordshire

 

I was born in 1950. I started work at 15 in 1965 and always knew my anticipated State Pension Age would be 65.  I received my State Pension, as agreed, at 65. 


My wife is 7 years younger than me and we had always planned that we would "manage" for the 2 years from 2015, which was my State Pension Age and June 2017 which was my Wife's Anticipated and agreed State Pension Date.  She started work at 16 in 1973 and has worked ever since, with NO BREAKS. Her anticipated State Pension Age, 60 in June 2017 was the date we always planned that we would retire TOGETHER.  

 
When my wife was 58 or 59, she "discovered" quite by chance, that her State Pension Age had been increased by 6 YEARS to 66.  She has received NO NOTIFICATION, NO LETTER, to inform her of this 6 YEARS INCREASE in her State Pension Age.  6 years at the current State Pension of £164.35 multiplied by 6 years is a MASSIVE £50k LOSS, which will never be recovered.  That is without mentioning the 6 x £200 Winter Fuel Allowances she will miss out on, or the Bus Pass. 


This has left our PLANNED Retirement in ruins.  We are both devastated.  We were so looking forward to spending time together, without the RESTRICTIONS we have had for the whole of our working lives.  We have worked and PAID IN for a total of 96 years between us.  
We were looking forward to the "simple pleasures", the occasional meal out, the occasional weekend away, things most people take for granted.


We are now left to "scrape by" on MY State Pension.   We are simply "juggling" finances to keep the bills paid.  This is not LIVING, it is merely EXISTING.  We dread an unexpected bill, such as household appliances breaking down as we will struggle to pay for repairs or replacement.  Dentist bills are not cheap and have to be paid for. 


The stress of this situation is awful.  I feel that the stress of this contributed to my recent heart attack.  I have never suffered ill health. We have worked all our lives and we should now be enjoying our well earned Retirement TOGETHER. We did nothing wrong.  We Worked and We Paid In.


It was not unreasonable to expect my wife's State Pension at 60. This was always the case and had not been changed for many years.  Why should it change for women who were nearing the END of their working lives?  Why should my wife work 1 year longer than me to get her State Pension? It all seems very unfair to me. 

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This is such an injustice

Roslyn, news feedback

Just out of despair and frustration, I'm at my wits end because of the change that's happened without notice to the 50s women! I have a problem now with balancing what bills to pay first it's had that much effect on everyday life. I have worked since I was 15years old! Got married to a wonderful man at 18 had two children, now 3 gorgeous grandchildren, but since being robbed of my pension, having to wait another 2 and a half years to get it??? We are now in a situation that I never thought we would have been and that is my lovely husband has Parkinson's Disease and slowly is becoming quite forgetful so I have just given in my notice at work because I need to take care of him. I worked all my life mostly in the NHS . This is such an injustice I will be a burden on the state because I will have to apply for benefits just to live and get by. If I had my pension when I was supposed to get it , there wouldn't be a problem now with finance! Come on Mrs May sort this out now!!!!!

We just want to enjoy our Retirement

Rosina, Langport, Somerset

I was born in 1955, just three and a half years after my Sister. She received her pension at Age 61, but mine has been deferred twice, until Age 66. I left school at 16 went straight into a fulltime job, paying into the NI system and expected my State Pension at 60.

 

I married at 20 in 1975. The 1990's were certainly not an easy time for me and to be honest they passed in a 'blur'. My life at that time, was one round of homecare, looking after my 3 children and my disabled husband who had had a stroke when my youngest child was just 6 weeks old. I became his unpaid carer for 16 years, whilst also trying to hold down a part time job, after my youngest went to nursery.

 

In 2003, my husband died 3 days before his 58th Birthday, leaving me a widow at 49. By this time I was suffering from exhaustion and stress, together with many debts.

 

I met my second husband a few months later and my life began to turn around. I sold my house to clear my debts, but was not left with much. I felt my life had been 'on hold' for many years with little to look forward to, but now I had a second chance to be happy. My older children had left home and my youngest was just about to go off to Uni. We started to make plans for our future together. I expected to receive my State Pension as promised at 60, just 2 years after my new husband would receive his at 65.  Neither of us had any idea that the goalposts had changed.

 

In 2006, just before our Wedding, I received an ASPF (Automatic State Pension Forecast) which estimated the amount of State Pension I would receive when I retired, but this DID NOT advise me of the new retirement age or date, so nothing alerted me to the fact that anything had changed.

 

In my opinion, anything as significant as the 1st change to SPA in 70 years should without doubt, have warranted a personal letter to ALL those affected, way back in 1995 when the Act was passed, and not leave it to chance that the 1950's born women who would be affected would somehow find out! The detractors say that “ignorance is not an excuse”, but I was genuinely not aware of the 1995 Pension Act or the fact that it had increased my SPA. Also, at that time I was only 40, still 20 years away from my expected Pension date, so Retirement was the last thing on my mind.

 

We now know that the Gov did not advise anyone by letter until 2009 and then apparently only to those born to April 1953. Why?? I did NOT receive ANY letter, ever, not even the one they say was sent in Feb 2012; I only found out when I requested a Statement forecast in early 2013, which was just 2 years notice that I would now have to wait for my Pension, until 2021, when I reached my 66th Birthday.  To have 6 extra years added at such short notice was just a total shock!

 

By this time, I had already taken early retirement from my job. Had I known I would have no doubt carried on working at least for a few more years. The small occupational pension I have would also have accrued. We have to rely in the main on my husbands’ Pension. Having mine as well, would make all the difference and also give me back my independence. Instead we are using the small amount of savings we have, that should be there to see us through our final years.

 

I also found out in 2016, that the 32 NI years I had accrued which was previously enough for a full pension (according to the statement in 2013) was now not going to be as those goalposts had been moved too!

 

Over the last 2 1/2 years I have been through the whole DWP complaints process (currently at Ombudsman stage) and I'm so fed up with all the pathetic excuses. I just want what is rightfully mine, my Pension in full from 60, as was promised. I know I am better off than some 1950's ladies but none of us deserve all this. Many of us didn't have equality of opportunities during our working lives. I am now 63 and my husband 70. Time together is so precious and we just want to enjoy our Retirement with some financial security before it's too late.

 

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I was never informed of the changes

Janet, Leeds, 1954

I started working at the age of 13 selling eggs in Leeds market on a Saturday, then at the age of 14 I left school and started working in the local sewing factory on piece work.  It was unbelievably hard - you had to work or you didn't get paid! And in those days we were never offered a work pension - all that I did know was that I paid full NI stamp and that I would retire at 60 years of age.  

                        
I worked in quite a few local factories until the age of 31 then in 1986/1987 we started our family. In 1989 after the birth of our 2 children I became ill with endometriosis and had to have a complete hysterectomy in 1990 also two Laparoscopy's, one before a big operation and one after.  It took me a number of years to recover from these so it was 6/7 years before I went back to full time work again, still in tailoring but on the soft furnishing side this time - that was heavy and hard work; I had to leave work due to ill health in 2007. 

 

In 1995 I developed ulcerated colitis plus I was having trouble with incontinence after having my children and my hysterectomy operations.  So in 2006 I had the TVT-O tape fitted, going back to work a mere 1 week later. In 2007 I was having really bad colitis flair ups so in April 2007 I decided to have the three stage ILIO-ANAL operation done, in which the large bowel was removed and a temporary stoma brought out from my small bowel; then back into hospital in September to have an internal pouch made and still a temporary stoma until everything had healed internally.  Sadly that all went wrong because the temporary bag had been stapled to the wall of my vagina causing sepsis!!  I was in hospital for 6 weeks during which time was taken back to theatre 13 times to save my life. 

 

I had to learn how to walk again, and when I finally got home I had the district nurses visit me 2-3 times a day for  6 months! I had over a hundred clips in my tummy but my wounds would not heal so my tummy was gaping open with large dressings that had to be changed every day. 

 

By 2008 I could just about manage to walk to the top of my street of 21 houses. In 2009 I had to go back into hospital again to have the stoma refashioned as my emergency ops had left it inverted.  By this time my mum was well into her 80's so because I was unable to work I was the one that looked after her until she passed at the age of 89. 

 

I have never have been able to go back to work because of the damage that was caused with my operations and to this day I'm still in and out of hospital with bowel related illnesses. 

 

One of the worst things for me is that I feel like I'm a cheat wanting my pension when all of you lovely ladies have worked many more years than I have.  But if retirement had stayed at 60 I would have had my years of NI paid up and would have retired with my dignity intact. In addition, I was never informed of the changes to my SP until I was 58, giving myself and my husband no time to prepare for retirement. 

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Shocked & disappointed

Ann, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire

I was born in March 1955 & I started work when I left school at 18.  I had one year off when I had my first child and then did waitressing for 8 years (during which I carried on paying my National insurance stamp) & then went back to work full time for the same company until I was 60. 

 

When I was 59 I officially told my employer I was retiring. It was only then that I found out by rumour that I wouldn’t get my state pension until I was 66. I’d never received a letter to this effect. I was shocked & disappointed but I thought I’d get another job part time to make ends meet. However, I have very elderly parents (86 & 89) who I need to visit regularly & two sets of grandchildren who I am called upon to babysit regularly so that their parents can work. So, even if I felt up to work, (which at the age of 63 I definitely don’t!) I couldn’t do it due to the demands on me from both ends of my family. 

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I have lost my confidence and self esteem

Lilian, Lydiate Liverpool

I left school at 15 and started working full-time, until the first of our 3 children came along, after which I worked part time juggling and struggling to make ends meet. We almost lost our house after falling behind with the mortgage. Frightened to open post /bills due to lack of money. 

 

I carried on working until I was 59, after being managed out of my job in a bank for 27 years. I have paid NIC for 44 years. My husband is self employed and many a time there was no work, so no income; this is still the case now. I have only a very small company pension, which is our only regular income.           

 

I looked after both of our mothers until they sadly passed away.  

 

I have lost my confidence and self esteem, and feel worthless through not having the pension that I contributed to all my working life. Health wise, I have an appointment for next week for my third operation to treat skin cancer. So much stress due to not receiving my pension. 

 

I have to wait for another 3 years until I'm 66, that's 6 extra years of no money;  If I'm still here. I never received any correspondence at all about the pension age changes and only found out by word of mouth and friends. I did not know at all about the changes, so it came as a complete shock.  I have no idea how we will manage now. Plus, I only found out recently that I was contracted out, so when/if I do get my pension, it will be reduced anyway!       

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I am actually worn out and physically struggling

Marina, Bolton, Greater Manchester

I have been in contributory employment since January 1969. I understood that my state pension date would be December 2013 when I would be 60. 

 

After asking for a forecast in April 2012 I found out that my SP date had changed to March 2019. I immediately contacted the DWP to report this error, and was told about the 1995 and 2011 changes, neither of which had been notified to me. At that time, I had lived at same address for 25 years.

 

I managed to stick it out in my regular job until June 2016 - I had intended to work past official SP age anyway to meet financial commitments. This would also have meant an increased SP amount. From June 2016 I lived off a small occupational pension and savings. Realising that my savings, which were intended for comfort and emergencies, were being rapidly depleted, I was forced back to work.

 

Since July 2017, I have been working in zero hours contract job for an agency as a healthcare assistant. Very demanding job physically and mentally. Even though my earnings keep the wolf from the door, and my albeit depleted savings intact, I get little pleasure from my money, as I am very often too exhausted to enjoy it.

 

I have worked and paid in for nearly 50 years. I should be able to relax and enjoy life now; I am actually worn out and physically struggling. I should have been in receipt of state pension for four years and eight months a sum in the region of £35000, instead, I have received £0.

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I never want to feel any guilt

June, Walton on Thames, Surrey

My husband will be 72 when the Government wants me to receive my pension.   My husband’s SPA was in 2016, from his SPA he worked part time until this year, fully retiring at 67 after 52 years in a job that kept him on his feet all day, physical in nature, resulting in two replacement knees.  Had I received my pension in 2017 we would not even have been faced with the question of whether he should continue after his 65th birthday.

 

I started work at 15 (Saturday job from 13) I don’t remember being encouraged either at home or school to seek anything other than a job.  I recall this as an “expectation” of us.  I went to night school to improve my skills and was eventually able to apply for a secretarial position, but wasn’t really able to continue that role when I married and our son came along because I had to take what “fitted” in. 

 

Married 1976, we worked towards putting a roof over our heads, providing for our family, received financial advice in the eighties on insurance/private pension which didn’t perform, just like the endowments and struggled with mortgage rates between 15% and 17%.  When our son was born I worked evenings stacking shelves, then when he went to school I found term time work, always juggling paid work/unpaid work, being responsible for the home, whilst my husband was working long hours. 

 

I am financially dependent on my husband, I cannot work at the present time due to caring commitments, and I am not entitled to any assistance except I do claim Specified Childcare Credits to keep my National Insurance record up to date.  I have tried for work, but who wants a 61year old who is only available at certain times?  If I were in receipt of my pension I would not be in this dilemma and it would make an enormous difference to the circumstances of our family unit.  Non receipt of my pension at 60 has affected both of us, our current existence is not what we worked towards or expected.  

 

My husband and I have 93 years of contributions between us.  I never want to feel any guilt in believing I should have received my pension at 60 or be made to feel guilty in thinking so.  This is why I value the work of Backto60 and the support of everyone involved.

 

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Devastated!

Elsa, Plymouth, Devon

My dad died suddenly in December 2009, and as he was my disabled mum's carer, it became increasingly obvious that mum would have to move in with us.

In June 2010 it was all arranged and she moved in.  At the time she could walk enough to get to the toilet and make herself a cup of tea. As she got worse, and could no longer manage even the simplest task, I decided to give up work to care for her. We worked out that we could manage financially until 2014 when I would get my pension, so in 2011, I left my job as a shop manager. In 2012 I received a letter telling me that I wouldn't get my state pension until my 66th Birthday in December 2020.

Devastated!

Mum got so bad I could no longer cope, so after four and a half years of caring for her, she went into a home. I lost the carer's allowance, such as it was, and also the financial help from my mum, as she then had to pay for her care. After applying unsuccessfully for many jobs (that was a shock in itself), I eventually got a job as a live-in carer in 2015. This isn't ideal as I'm away from my husband for weeks at a time, my life is 'on hold' and I struggle to do it. I have osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, carpel tunnel, an under active thyroid and two full knee replacements, I struggle to even walk some days. We've sold family heirlooms, downsized and we're still struggling.

My husband is 65 next month and will get a reduced pension as, although he worked in the same job for 42 years, they were opted out at some stage!

 

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Letter of 2013

Frances, Edinburgh

I started working full time the day after my last ‘O’ level, I'd just turned 16 years old. I continued to work full time for 35 years without a break, without even stopping to have children, in 4 different jobs. My pay throughout my working life was very low. I started on £16.50 per week. Men were always paid more than women everywhere I worked.

 

After 35 years my health started to deteriorate and my final job caused me great stress and anxiety, which exacerbated my various illnesses, which include being an insulin dependent diabetic and asthmatic. I am also now on lifetime injections for Vitamin B12 deficiency, which causes all sorts of problems to my physical and mental health.

 

I'd checked the HMRC website regularly in 2011, leading up to my voluntary early retirement from The City of Edinburgh Council, and it stated quite clearly I'd retire on my 60th Birthday on 5th February 2020. Otherwise I'd never have taken early retirement, as my Voluntary Early Retirement lump sum was only enough to get me through until then. The actual basic works pension I have is a pittance. I am now having to live off my husband, who's on minimum wage.

Two years after I retired I got a letter from the DWP dated November 2013 to say my State pension age would now be on my 66th birthday, 5th February 2026!! It was a bolt out of the blue!! My husband and I have worked hard all our lives, since the age of 16. I had imagined that when I got my state pension at 60, my husband might be able to retire from his current job doing 7 x 12 hour mix of dayshifts/nightshifts in a row, on minimum wage, which is having a detrimental effect on his health and mine.

 

To add insult to injury, when I looked on the official Government site, I am no longer entitled to my full State Pension either as I stopped working before I was 66, unless I pay in hundred of Pounds more money for NI!! I have never been unemployed and I have never claimed any benefits in my entire life. I have always worked for everything I have. Now I find myself in desperate circumstances, wondering if I am going to have to sell my home, which I have worked for all my life.

 

I wrote to my local MP on 12 December 2017 about this matter and he has still not replied to me. The nonsense about people living longer is just not true. Many of my friends and people I know have died before their 60th Birthdays. The stress the Government has put on people by raising the state pension age without any warning is having serious consequences on the health and welfare of 1950's born men and women.

 

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I am officially homeless and destitute

Marion, Surrey

A friend told me in 2011 that I would not now be receiving my state pension, for which I had worked full time, until some time after my 66th birthday. At that time I had retrained and was self employed & building a business which was doing quite well. I was working full-time while also supporting my family, including a daughter and grandson with some ongoing challenging disabilities. They had come to live with me, having been severely impacted and disadvantaged by Government austerity measures with regard to disabilities, housing and finances. As I worked from home this affected my work but we carried on until they finally were able to move out.

 

Just a few weeks later I was given notice to quit by my own landlord and had to move some miles away from my family and my local clients which further impacted my finances. However, this new rented house flooded, sometimes several times a year, was freezing cold and developed on-going mould and damp problems which, over time, severely impacted my health and well-being, as well as my business;  so much so that in the winter of 2015/16 I became chronically ill with respiratory and other conditions. 

 

With no joy from the local council about being re-housed I had to leave all my possessions behind and move over 100 miles away to my daughter's to recuperate on the floor in her small box room, with nothing but the clothes I could carry with me. I had to cash in an occupational pension, losing thousands in the process and live on the £152 per month it brought me. This very low income does not qualify me for NHS dental treatment; I would have had to claim certain benefits to be able to get free dental treatment, but I will not claim state benefits under their current punitive rules, and I can well do without the additional stress from that particular system.

 

The next challenge came in early 2018 when the whole family was evicted under a no-fault eviction process, moved into temporary accommodation for one week, then moved again into another temporary house. This set of upheavals and the associated stress awoke a dormant serious health condition that I had previously been free from for many years.

 

If my state pension age had remained at 60 I could have afforded alternative accommodation where I am sure I would have recovered a lot quicker without the additional upheavals. 

 

Instead, today, I am officially homeless and destitute and still healing from some chronic health concerns brought about by the effects of long-term austerity, the icing on the cake being the withholding of my pension for six years.

 

I give my explicit permission for this story to be used by Backto60.

Retirement Date Changed Twice Without Notice!

Carole, Yorkshire

I was born 4 June 1954.  I worked from age 17, always paid a full stamp. I got married in April 2006, aged 51. I was due to retire 4 June 2014 age 60. 

  

I had to take early retirement in 2009, due to ill health; so I accepted a small occupational pension in anticipation of receiving my SPA in 2014.  I NEVER received any correspondence from the DWP regarding my pension, until I requested a State Pension Forecast in 2011.  The DWP had my correct details because from 2009 I claimed Carer's Allowance for my husband and I claimed Disabled Living Allowance; I also received correspondence from various government departments after I moved to Yorkshire from Woking, Surrey in December 2003.

 

My pensions forecast came a a complete shock.  It stated my State Retirement Date as 2018 - aged 64; my husband reached 65 in March of the same year so we anticipated receiving our SPA at the same time.  However, I then started to see posts on FB about pension dates changing again and when I checked the gov.uk website, my retirement date had risen AGAIN, and with no notification AGAIN, to 6 January 2020! That makes me 65yr 7m and 2 days!  My husband got his pension age 65 from 16th March 2018, the day after his birthday!!  

 

We have few savings & what we have we use as we are both disabled. It's a constant struggle to juggle finances. I have most bills on direct debit, so they get paid first, but sometimes we have to make do with soup for our main meal so we can afford to heat our flat. My husband is Type 2 diabetic & I have osteoarthritis in many joints!

 

I give my explicit permission for BackTo60 group to share my story for legal and media use.

Too Ill To Work Now!

Yvonne, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands  

I retired from a job I enjoyed just before my 60th birthday thinking I would get my pension at 60. I didn't. Started looking for another job, no luck - tried for about 18 months. 

 

I then contracted bacterial meningitis. While I am very lucky to still be here, according to the Doctors, it has left me with several issues. I am virtually deaf in 1 ear, I have lost the sight in my left eye, I have persistent debilitating headaches and very low energy levels together with balance problems and memory issues. 

 

Nobody would even give me an interview before I was ill but I have absolutely no chance now! I am not entitled to any benefits whatsoever, despite the fact that I am registered as partially sighted, because my hard working husband is still working. 

 

I have worked since I was 17 never claimed benefits or been a drain on society in any way. Is this fair...I think NOT! 

 

I give my explicit permission for BackTo60 group to share my story for legal and media use.

A Man's Story

John, Purley   

I am a 68 year old man suffering from COPD, depression and stress; by the time my wife, who was born in 1956, is "allowed" to retire (current estimate is sometime in 2021) I could be dead!!  So nothing to look forward to as a couple in retirement.

 

My wife works full time as a manageress in a well known cat charity - her work involves a considerable amount of standing, and heavy lifting/moving of bags and donations up and down a flight of stairs every day of the week.  She is expected to work even if there are no "volunteers" available.  Her health has suffered; chronic back pain, joint pains and now high blood pressure.  The work at her age has certainly taken it's toll.  Not only that she has to run the house because I'm ill. 

 

She used to teach Spanish at an adult education college but due to government cut backs in further education there is no more work!  So, any route other than the one she is in at the present time was taken away from her. 

I give EXPLICIT PERMISSION for the story to be published and for legal use.

Widowed and Broke

Penny, Bucks   

I was born 23 July 1954 and I was suddenly widowed in 2013 when my husband was only 59. I have had to more than double my work but even then I cannot make ends meet as I live in rented accommodation and I have almost used up any capital that I had. If I had my pension when I was 60 I would have succeeded but I cannot survive until May 2020. I was never told that my pension had changed from 60 and I only found out after my husband had died.
 
I also discovered this year that my husband would have got his pension on his 65th birthday this year. He had fully paid his NI contributions and if he had lived for another 25 years the government would have had to pay out over £200k. I have lost £51k on the new state pension over 6 years. My husband was only a year older than me but I have to wait 23 months longer than him! They could at least have given me his pension in the interim!
 
What are we supposed to do if we run out of money – go on the streets I suppose!! I have done my very best but working full time at my age is taking its toll as I have diabetes. Another friend of mine only 6 months older than me has got her pension. The cut-off date was extremely unfair.

I give EXPLICIT PERMISSION for the story to be published and for legal use.

Many days I feel suicidal

Pam, Fylde, Near Blackpool     

I give EXPLICIT PERMISSION for my story to be used or published by Backto60. 

I am a widow aged 64 and have no family at all.  I was suddenly widowed in 2013, the year I was 60 and should have got my pension. I only learned about the change in SPA when I wrote for a pension forecast in 2012.


Once I was widowed I had to use my savings to pay bills. Prior to that I was a carer for my mother from 2003 to 2008 when she died. I could only work part time as I was needed for caring the rest of the time. I was permanently exhausted and in the end my mum needed a care home for her needs. I am an only child.


MY late husband had an accident at work and I cared for him from 2008 to 2013, working part time, visiting hospitals daily, and then caring for him at home with the help of district nurses coming in daily. One morning in July 2013 I went downstairs where he had to sleep and found him dead. I am still suffering that trauma.

 

I did go back to work but about 6 months later  had my work contract finished due to ill health. I have agoraphobia and panic attacks and find it very hard just going out. I have nobody now I can call on if I try to go out and suffer panic attacks. 
 

In the end I couldn't pay the mortgage and the building society went for repossession.  Welfare rights stopped them but I had to agree to sell the house. It did sell but with a shortfall, and I am now in a small flat of 4 rooms and on ESA due to various health conditions including a head injury suffered when horse riding accident when I was younger which left me temporarily paralysed and with some permanent injuries. 

 

Many days I feel suicidal and wish it was me who had died. I am so lonely and don't see many people.  I am on antidepressants and high BP tablets.  I have bad arthritis in my hands neck shoulders and am on strong painkillers every day. I have no confidence and no money.  I am just existing. It would have been a different story if the government had given me my pension as contracted when I was 60.


I hope my story helps others.

'I cant work another 8 years'

Julie,  Chippenham Wiltshire     

I worked part/full time since the age of 13 in the secretarial sector. In Dec 1989 I contracted Crohn's Disease.  I had to have extensive surgery. My employers sacked me.


In May 1990, after moving back with my parents, I re-joined the full-time workforce.  In 1991 I bought my own flat, married 1994 I continued to work full-time until 1996 when I gave birth to my first child. Back to work full time after 9 months then part-time, my mother acting as childminder.  I had a second child in 1999. My mother decided that looking after 2 children 4 days a week was too much so I gave up work and became a full-time Mum. My illness reared it's head again and in 2000 I had to have further surgery. 

I did do some part-time work during this time, stacking shelves in the evening. I remember it was extremely hard. Money was extremely tight, in 2004, my youngest started school, I got a part-time job with ********* Police. I loved my job, I had a breakdown.  My marriage broke down, partly due to money issues, our house repossessed. 


I had to rent a house. I returned to full-time work, all the while suffering from Crohn's.  In 2015 landlord sold the house and we were evicted; 
I managed to secure a 3 bedroom house through the local Housing Association. I still work full-time but due to my age, 58 and coping with Crohn's disease and depression, there is no way I can work full time for another 8 years!  


I have private pensions with most of my past employers but they won't pay out until my State Pension does for some reason. 
How am I going to survive if I cannot work?  I have no energy to do anything other than work, eat and sleep! I have written to my local MP, Michelle Donelan on two occasions and received an acknowledgement but no reply.

While sorting through some paperwork I came across my letter from the DWP in which I was given less than 3 years notice that I was going to have to work an extra 6 years before I receive my State Pension - how is that fair?

I have always worked but I feel the time is coming when I will have to claim ESA as well as PIP. I have no savings and no house to sell.


I give my Explicit permission for my story to be published 

I Was On Countdown For My Pension At 60

Ros, Suffolk     

Born in 1956. I had to leave school and go to work age 15 to help out my mum, who was alone with three children. I worked in a local shop, where there was no pension scheme, and anyway, work based pensions were not available to lower paid women. Higher education was not open to me and there was no equality in the workplace, or in society, then or now!

I married, raised a family, during which time I worked, sometimes part-time. I cared for various family members, taking them to hospital & GP appointments, shopping, outings - no carers allowance or dependence on benefits or hospital transport or home help. All the while paying NI and expecting my pension at age 60. 

Later my husband became terminally ill with cancer, which meant he couldn't work, so I became the sole breadwinner and returned to working full time, but locally, to be on hand when there was an emergency; I had no help with caring for my husband. We had to sell our family home to pay off the mortgage. After he died I worked full time in the NHS Cancer Services. Subsequently, health reasons meant that I changed my job and worked part-time. 

I was on 'countdown' to having a state pension at 60 which would pay my bills, and I could work part-time if able, I would have some measure of dignity and freedom. However when I turned 59 I heard through social media and my Union that my state pension had been deferred until I was age 66! I had received no information or letter about this from the DWP. 

This SPA change came as a great shock to me. Had I known in 1995 I would have had time to prepare for the future and maybe make different life decisions. I now need to look for full-time work! Or as recommended by the government, an Apprenticeship, for less than the minimum wage! That I will not receive my state pension age 60 has had a significant impact on all areas of my life and my health. 

Equality is given as one reason for the SPA change, however I and thousand of 1950's women are disproportionately, adversely affected by it. This change has been grossly mismanaged and processed too speedily, purely with the aim of making financial savings and without considering the impact on people's lives. 


I give my Explicit permission for my story to be published 

I just couldn’t go on…. 

Mary from Fleet in Hampshire      

My name is Mary and I was born in July 1955.


I left school at 15 and went straight into employment for which I was paid £5 per week; from that I paid my train fares to work and money to my parents for my keep. There was not much left over to put aside for the future - you paid NI and that was it.


I worked until I had my first child at 22, followed by two more children, and it was the norm back then for mothers to stay at home and take care of the family while husbands went out to work to provide. But money was very tight so there was nothing spare to save for retirement; we survived on my husband’s wages and Child Benefit.


We almost lost out home after our third child was born due to rising interest rates, but despite being taken to court three times by the mortgage company, we held on to it because I went back to work rather than claim benefits. And when my husband got a new job I continued to work evenings and weekends to make ends meet. However, there was never any spare money to save for our retirement on top of the State Pension, even if I was aware of the pension changes!


I did start paying into a company pension around 1994 but that was the first time I was ever offered the opportunity to do so. At no point did I get any notifications of changes to my State Pension, so I assumed once I reached 60 I would receive what I was entitled to. By 1997 I was working full time & I worked extra hours when my husband was again made redundant. Again, we never claimed any benefits. 
However, my job was very stressful and in 2014 I was rushed to hospital with chest pains, although thankfully I was discharged 3 days later. I continued to work until 2017, despite the stress causing sleepless nights and further bouts of illness including shingles. However, I felt I just couldn’t go on working full time in this job, so at the age of 62 I had to retire, without my State Pension. 


Fortunately, my 65 year old husband is in good health and is happy to continue working, although I’m not sure he can continue for a further 4 years…. indeed, why should he have to?!!


I should have my own pension and we should both be retired and enjoying life!

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

Help needed with 3 year shortfall

Charles, Tunbridge Wells      

I was planning and had expected to retire on my 65th birthday.  However, my wife is now not due to receive her State Pension until she is 66, which means that we will have another three years to wait.  She has already been obliged to continue part-time teaching work, beyond her previously advised retirement date of 60, to provide income to bridge the gap until she receives her state pension.  She is now unable to continue beyond her 63rd birthday because of failing eyesight.


I have now decided that I cannot afford to retire completely when I am 65, because payment of my wife’s pension has been changed from 60 to 66, with insufficient notice, leaving us with a shortfall in income.  I am therefore intending to work part time, three days per week, for up to a year, to build up some money to help us with the three-year shortfall, at a time when I had anticipated that I would be fully retired.
We are also trying to sell our home, to buy another, so that we can release some capital, and generate some income to help fill the gap.

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

Tired, Betrayed and Vulnerable

Carol, Dorset       

My name is Carol and I am one of the affected ladies born in 1956 ie. I will get no 
pension until I’m 66.

 I worked in the NHS as a nurse as well as caring for my elderly mother and I was planning at last to be able to relax a little instead of tearing around looking after family and doing 12 hour shifts at work!  I still retired at 60 as I was so run down as well as feeling physically and mentally exhausted. However, I can't claim any benefits as my husband, who is over 65 and receiving his state pension, is still working 2 days a week to help with my lost pension!

 
I’m now living off my savings which is both sad and worrying as that was saved for my safety net and as an inheritance for my children. 

I feel tired, betrayed and so vulnerable in society now, and I don’t feel valued at all; I can’t believe we are being treated so appallingly! I spent my life balancing my family with working for the NHS, and this is the thanks I get; it sucks! 


Any private company would have been taken to the courts by now as it’s a criminal offence to steal other peoples’ money; so how come our government can treat us as second-class citizens and think they can get away with it?  They seriously don’t care about our welfare at all.
I had one letter only from the DWP about the change in my retirement age, and that was a mere 14 months before I was due to retire at 60!! Certainly not enough time to make any changes! 

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

Stress, Stress and more Stress

Grace, Renfrew, Scotland  

I am 63 and I have worked since I was 15.  I always believed I’d get my pension at 60. I suffer from arthritis, angina, high blood pressure and recently, a skin complaint which my hospital consultant says is caused by stress. I am doing a very stressful job full time, but I am finding it harder and harder to cope with this. I am currently trying to get a less stressful job but with no luck. 


I Give MY EXPLICIT PERMISSION 

A burden on no one and this is our reward

Tony from Leicester  

My wife turned 60 this June and her State Pension Age was moved up to 66.  I will be 64 in a couple of months. My retirement age was also recently moved to 66.  My wife should have now been retired and receiving her SPA, with me to follow in just over one year's time, aged 65. Under the present system, I will now be 70 before my wife retires and receives her State Pension, an increase of 5 years!  

 

My wife is a mobile hairdresser and is self-employed. Having stood on her feet for many years, aches and pains are now part of her everyday life.  It will be impossible for her to continue that work for a further 6 years and that begs the question "Where will her income come from if she has to give up working?"  We have both paid our way in life.  I do not recall ever claiming any benefit.  We chose not to be a burden on anyone and this is our reward. 


We are both self-employed. We are not well paid, nor do we have the luxury of Company Pensions.  In fact, we will RELY on the State Pension in our retirement. Governments do not understand that not all people have Private Pensions to cash in!  They set the rules according to their cosy positions, which we pay for.  


To say I am annoyed would be an understatement!!

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

No time to save to bridge the gap

NIC, Tunbridge Wells 

Like many other women of my age group, I fully expected to retire and receive my State Pension at the age of 60, which I reached in 2015. Three years before this, in October 2012, I asked for a state pension forecast from the DWP and discovered that my new retirement age would be 66.  I would not have known unless I had asked.

 

There simply was not time to allow me, and many others like me, to save enough to bridge the gap between the expected retirement age of 60 and the revised one of 66.  In 2013 I had a letter from DWP informing me of the change. We are talking about two years official notification of a change which significantly affected my financial position.  This is wrong.

 

These changes needed to be gradual not sudden changes of this speed and magnitude. I also think it is inappropriate to focus on the equality this is supposed to create while the gender pay gap persists.  This needs to be sorted first.  We did not have equality in our lifetime and to say that the removal of what amounts to some £48,000 State Pension is equality is nonsense.

 

In our family we have the interesting position that my husband, who is two years older than me, will retire at his original State Pension age of 65, whereas I will retire six years after my anticipated pension age.  I will retire at 66, he at 65.   

 

These changes have had a huge impact on me and on my family.  Like many women of my generation, I stayed at home to look after my children till the youngest was 11: we simply could not afford childcare.  My job was not held open for me. There were no nursery vouchers. We could not afford childcare and my parents lived too far away to help. During that time, my career as a translator was on hold.  On one salary and with three children, saving for a private pension was unthinkable.  

 

Til I returned to work I was a volunteer helper at the playgroup my children attended.  I was also unpaid Treasurer of that group.  When my children started school, I continued the voluntary work, first listening to reading and helping on outings, then serving on the Governing Body as Chair of the Curriculum Committee and Vice Chair of the Governing Body.  I was paid for none of this.  I built up no occupational pension. I first had an opportunity to join an occupational pension scheme in 2000.

 

When I returned to work, I had to re-train at the age of 44.  This meant a year of expenses as I did my PGCE, training to be a teacher, initially of Modern Foreign languages in a comprehensive and then as a primary school teacher.  I built up a teachers’ pension, but it was very much reduced by my late start and by the fact that some of the time I could only do supply work to fit round family and ageing parents.  For this I had no pension contributions.

 

I had also had a long history of severe depression, culminating in a breakdown following my divorce in 2006, when my anxiety levels and panic attacks made it impossible to hold down my teaching job. I had to find retail work to bridge the gap and ended up in debt, as my basic outgoings left me no money for food. I gradually got back into teaching via supply tuition work, following my first hip replacement in 2008.

 

In 2013 at 58, I had to retire early from teaching due to arthritis, which had necessitated another hip replacement.  I was still on mood balancing medication. Primary teaching is an intensely physical job: going up ladders to put up displays, sitting on minute chairs, working incredibly long hours all become increasingly difficult with arthritis.  It is also a very stressful job, not ideal if, like me, you suffer from anxiety and depression.  Increasing the pension age simply does not take account of the physical ailments that accompany ageing and make some jobs no longer viable.  

 

I loved teaching, so I now am self-employed as a tutor.  I pay tax and National Insurance but get no sickness benefit. I earn substantially less than I did as the full-time teacher I was. I now have arthritis in my hands, especially in my right hand, which makes teaching hard.  However, I cannot have the operation I need on my right hand: I can’t afford to take off the time I need for the operation and the post-operative recovery period.  Yet I have over 3 more years to work.  I also have age-related macular degeneration, which is making teaching increasingly challenging.

 

Daughters have traditionally cared for aged and ailing parents, but I was unable to take time off work to care for my elderly parents in their last months. They died within six months of each other, one in hospital, the other in a nursing home.  I had to return within a week of each death.  For me, this was a personal tragedy. It has also left me with a huge feeling of guilt, as I had not been able to afford to take time off to care for them.

 

I believe there is a huge negative implication for society as a whole as a result of the change in the pension age.  Women of my age traditionally would ‘retire’ and look after their ageing parents and/or grandchildren to allow their children to return to work.  I have three grandchildren, but I am not in a position to help as I would like, just as I was not in a position to look after my parents in their last days: I had to, and still have to, continue to work.  Society expects women to care for children and parents and then penalises them financially when they do so.  We suffer first from gender pension inequality, then from gender pension wealth gap.

 

This state pension injustice is having a devastating effect on individual women and a detrimental effect on society as a whole.  

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

Life choices taken away

Brenda, Sheffield 

My name is Brenda born 1954. I took redundancy aged 56 to become a carer for my parents. My father died but I remain the carer for my mother aged 90. As an only child I didn't have many choices but to do this and based on my previous pension forecasts, I worked out my redundancy pay would last me if I was careful until I was 60. 

I don't recall ever receiving any notification certainly not in letter form telling me any different. And maybe it was in the media but as a carer your head tends to be fully occupied by surviving each day. I couldn't sign on as I wasn't available for work and it is only this last six months that I applied for carers allowance. 

Basically for the past four years after my redundancy ran out, I have had no income and had to rely on my husbands pension. I did not have an employment nor private pension but paid increased national insurance for a better state pension. Now not relevant. Twelve months ago we had to sell our family home and downsize to a small bungalow so we could release cash to live on. I suppose this makes us fortunate as we had this option but this means we have no rooms for our grandchildren to stay with us and after working and caring for either children or elderly parents I feel aggrieved I cannot enjoy entertaining my family in what was our family home.


When I was at work women weren't allowed to join the pension scheme initially. I was so poorly paid that when I could join I couldn't afford to. When we had children it was expected we left work so my career didn't even start until I was 40 then got cut short so I didn't have time to build up a personal pension of any value. I agree pension age should be the same for men and women but women of our age group just haven't had the equality up to now so it seems very unfair. My husband a year older than me has now received his state pension. It just doesn't make sense.

I know other ladies will have had a harder time than me but I do believe having to sell your home is a major decision and a sad decision to have to make. So far I have lost pension benefits amounting to 35,000. I was told my pension would be £169 per week. Unfortunately I got rid of the letter probably in disgust! I've also saved the state a fortune by looking after my parents but I don't regret the choices I made.

I give explicit permission for my story to be used.

Blameless v Shameless

Sheila in Spain 

I started work age 15, in 1970, I married in 1975,  I always worked full time and always paid full stamp. From 1997 to 2004 I worked for a Pensions company, providing statements and sending out the paperwork for people retiring and arranging annuities.


In 2004 I moved to Spain feeling secure because I would be getting my pension age 60. What a shock, why didn’t I know about the pension hike? I was in touch with DWP on a daily basis and never heard a thing. I heard about the age hike through a friend who had just requested the paperwork from DWP, she was 2 months off her 60th birthday. I am living off my meagre company pension which for some reason I HAD to take at age 60, I was not allowed to defer it. My marriage ended and I am stuck in Spain in an abusive relationship, scared to come back to the UK because of all the horror stories I’m reading about 50s women. I have nothing and I’m afraid of being homeless so I stay and live in fear but I have a roof over my head. No one seems to have any respect for the elderly in the UK. If I had my pension I would have my independence and dignity and that would make all the difference.

I give you explicit permission to use my story.

Margaret Rimington's Story - SCALES OF JUSTICE

Southport, Merseyside

My name is Margaret Rimington. I started this petition as I feel very strongly about the injustice that the Government has done to all the 50s ladies. I started work at the age of 15, paying into the system to be able to retire at 60. I've paid 41 years up to now, only to find out that I must now work 'til I am 66, the Government haven't and did not give me enough notice for this change. I am working now part time and am struggling to make ends meet financially, this may mean that I must work more hours. I am now tired and having a few health issues, what is the Government going to do if I'm too ill to work and cannot pay my bills?

 

I hold the Government responsible for all these ladies who are struggling financially and who are suffering anxiety and depression, as they have put us in this situation by not giving us enough notice of change. What are they going to do if I find myself too ill to work and find myself with no home, after all these years of paying into the system, as they would be responsible for this happening. 

I give permission for my name and story to be published.

'I don't want tea and sympathy, I want my State Pension'

Anne -  Market Harborough, Leicestershire

 

After seven years with a company I was made redundant June 2017. I applied for many varied roles being flexible with salary. Unfortunately not only did my many applications disappear into a big black hole, I was unsuccessful with one interview I did secure. 

In Jan 2018 I had a life changing accident resulting in a broken hip and pelvis and this has led to long term rehabilitation.

I have always worked and supported my husband and family with my salary ...remember mortgage rates at 15%?

I have lost all independence and rely on my husband. Not so long ago I watched a TV series where celebrities tested retirement in a number of other countries. Obvious to say, shock and dismay how badly we are treated compared to Thailand, China ....and many others.

Full permission to use my story

More to follow...

Joanne Welch

Founder & Director 

Backto60.com

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07729 625784

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