State Pension  

DWP must pay woman £35 after Waspi complaint

DWP must pay woman £35 after Waspi complaint

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has been ordered to pay a woman £35 after she complained she was not given enough information about the changes in her state pension age.

The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) decided not to uphold the woman's complaint that, since 1995, The Pension Service had failed to inform her about the changes, which led to the creation of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign.

But the examiner found the DWP had no commitment to proactively communicate changes to state pension age to all those individuals affected by it and a personalised forecast was available to the woman on request.

But the organisation found the woman had emailed the DWP to ask about the fact the number of qualifying years of National Insurance contributions she needed had risen and it ruled the department should have taken the opportunity to provide more information, but failed to do so.

As a result it recommended the DWP apologise to her and make a consolatory payment of £35.

It was reported in May that the DWP was dealing with more than 2,800 complaints about the equalisation of the state pension age for women.

In its 40-page annual report, the Independent Case Examiner said that by the end of 2017 to 2018 it had completed 68 cases where the complaint was about the DWP failing to communicate changes to state pension age.

Joanna Wallace, independent case examiner, said: "We are giving every complainant the opportunity to tell us about any aspects of their own particular case which they believe could affect the decision for them, albeit that the main element of complaint is the same in all the cases.

"I have not upheld any of the cases on that main complaint although some other matters such as issues with complaint handling and provision of information have been upheld."

The Waspi movement has claimed the increase in the women's state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – in the 1995 Pension Act was implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The group also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

The Scottish Parliament passed a motion to support women born in the 1950s affected by an increase in the state pension age.

In a resolution presented by MSP Sandra White the Parliament called on the Scottish government to "urge the UK government to provide a bridging pension that supplies an income until state pension age, which is not means tested".

rosie.quigley@ft.com