State Pension  

Waspi women call for state pension access

Waspi women call for state pension access

A group of women born in the 1950s affected by an increase in the state pension age have called on the government to give early access to the state pension to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group is calling on the government to take urgent action to help 1950s women who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Their demands include allowing early access to the state pension for Waspi women due to reach state pension age this financial year.

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According to the group this would mean the government would not have to support these women through other measures like furlough payments or benefits.

They have also called for early access to pension credit for women who are otherwise eligible. 

Some individuals are not receiving this support as their income is too low but they also cannot access other support such as universal credit.

To qualify for pension credit an individual must have a minimum income of £144.38 a week if they are single, and £229.67 a week if in a couple.

Waspi’s campaign director Chrissie Lord said: “We’re increasingly concerned about the disproportionate impact the outbreak is having on 1950s born women.

"Like others, many Waspi women are seeing a significant impact on their livelihoods as a result of income uncertainty and difficulties accessing affordable food and other essentials. 

“For women who were already in serious financial difficulty as a result of mismanagement of changes to the state pension age, the impact is huge.”

The Waspi movement has been campaigning against recent raises to the state pension age for women, which had been accelerated as part of the Pension Act 2011.

Campaign groups Waspi and Backto60 have claimed the changes were implemented unfairly for women born in the 1950s, and with little or no personal notice.

The groups, which are calling for compensation for those affected, have also claimed that 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.

But in October, the High Court dismissed a legal challenge from Backto60, which claimed that the changes in the state pension age were discriminatory.

The group is set to appeal this decision in July.

Ms Lord said: “We have always campaigned for fair transitional arrangements for all women affected by the Waspi issue, and we will continue to work towards this aim. However, in these exceptional circumstances we have taken the decision to campaign urgently for vital support specifically for those who have been impacted the most severely.

“Waspi women have fallen through the cracks too many times before. It is time for the government to act to ensure that Waspi women who are struggling to make ends meet are protected and supported.”

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