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Women’s state pension payment dispute approaches resolution

Women impacted by the increase in the state pension age might receive compensation following a much-anticipated report due this Thursday.

An ombudsman has examined the fairness of aligning women’s pension ages with men’s, which could have led to injustices.

Advocates argue that many women faced financial hardships due to insufficient notice about the age increase.

Although the ombudsman can suggest compensation, it has no power to enforce it.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group is pushing for at least £10,000 in compensation per affected individual.

The state pension age has been rising in response to increased life expectancies and is currently 66 for both genders.

These changes, particularly how they were implemented and communicated, have sparked controversy, especially among women born in the 1950s who argue they were disproportionately impacted without adequate warning, leading to significant financial and emotional strain.

Women affected by the rising state pension age could be in line for compensation when a long-awaited report is published on Thursday

For an extended period, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has scrutinized how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) informed women about the increase in the retirement age, particularly those who were most affected.

In 2021, the ombudsman’s preliminary finding was that the DWP committed maladministration due to delayed direct notifications to these women.

Although some women knew about the policy shift, they were unaware of its personal implications. The ombudsman noted that direct letters should have been issued to these women much earlier than they were, with delays spanning more than two years for some.

The forthcoming sections of the report will address whether these communication lapses constituted “injustice” and if the affected individuals should be compensated.

Should the report advocate for compensation, the government could face a financial burden running into billions.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group highlights that some women from the 1950s were significantly impacted by the unanticipated changes to the retirement age, resulting in financial hardship and difficulty in securing employment due to their age.

Angela Madden, chair of Waspi, shared her personal struggle, having left a full-time position and then remaining unemployed for over a year before learning about the new pension age requirements.

She noted on BBC Breakfast that the unexpected change forced some individuals to sell their homes and affected others’ divorce settlements, which had been based on a state pension age of 60. Madden emphasized that some women ended up in severe poverty, lacking the funds necessary for basic survival.

Additionally, Karen Woodward, a 65-year-old from Portland, Dorset, represents the affected group. As a self-employed individual who developed arthritis in her 50s, she faced the consequences of missing out on her pension.

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