Women affected by pension age change slam 'derisory' compensation

Women affected by the mishandling of changes to their State Pension age have slammed the compensation recommendations.

Women affected by state pension changes which were not communicated adequately have slammed “derisory” compensation recommendations.

An investigation found that thousands of women may have been affected by the Department for Work and Pensions’ failure to adequately inform them that the retirement age had changed.

A report concluded that those affected by the state pension changes and were not communicated with adequately should receive an apology and payouts.

The UK National Ombudsman recommended that affected women are compensated at level four – which ranges between £1,000 to £2,950 – for the injustice they suffered.

This is a lower range than the £10,000 figure – level six – previously suggested by the State Pension Inequality For Women All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

Former headteacher Sandra Gibson, 70, took early retirement due to ill health in 2012. Six weeks later, her husband took ill and died six months later.

WASPI woman Sandra Gibson, 70, from Paisley.STV News

She revealed she has lost out on £45,00 and told STV News the compensation offered was “derisory”.

She said: “Well, I calculate that I have lost at least £45,000. The compensation that’s being bandied around today, I think is scale three or four, level three or four, is kind of between £1,000 and £3,000.

“I actually find that quite derisory. What I am looking for in common with many WASPI women is that it’s the maximum compensation that is £10,000 plus. That’s still less than 25% of what I’ve lost.”

Former school secretary Linda Flint, 67, says she wasn’t informed at all of the changes and only learned when it was too late.

WASPI woman Linda Flint, 67 from Johnstone.STV News

She is also looking for the maximum compensation level, and has described the offered figures as “disgusting”.

She added: “The report should have come out and it should have had the proper level, which my colleague had said. We’re looking for level 6, we’re looking for £10,000 and more.

“We are, because when you equate that to the £55,500 that I’ve lost, it’s a disgrace. We’ve paid in, we’ve given the government our tax, our national insurance all these years. One thing they could have done to us is let us know what was happening.”

Anne Potter worked for a telecoms company and then her husband’s business – she opted for early retirement. Then in March 2016, she learned from watching breakfast tv that she wasn’t going to get her pension when she expected.

WASPI woman Anne Potter, 69, from Burnside.STV News

“It’s certainly not enough,” the 69-year-old told STV News.

“Some people would be grateful for it because they have got no money and that would be a godsend to some people.

“But I think for the length of time we’ve actually had to wait and the turmoil we’ve had to put up with and all the difficulties we’ve dealt with over the last five or six years, I don’t think that amount of money is enough.”

The report said it would cost as much as £10bn to compensate all women in born in the 1950s.

Rishi Sunak has been urged to “do the right thing” and set aside billions in compensation for affected women.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners said it is time for supportive politicians to “put their money where their mouth is” with “a proper compensation package”.

Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride is likely to appear in the House of Commons before the Easter recess to address the ombudsman’s recommendations, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt suggested.

PHSO chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said that despite the finding of failings by DWP and the ruling that the women affected are owed compensation, the department has “clearly indicated that it will refuse to comply”.

Both the DWP and the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government will consider the ombudsman’s report and respond to their recommendations formally “in due course”.

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