More than 1.5m widows have lost out on pensions

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More than 1.5m widows have lost out on pensions
Kristya Nugraha via Pexels

More than 1.5million UK widows have lost out on pension income after the death of their partner, latest research has shown.

In a study carried out for more2life by the Centre for Economics and Business Research among more than 1000 UK adults aged 55, poverty among widows is particularly rife, with 59 per cent of widows experiencing a sharp drop in income following their bereavement.

The study found that just 16 per cent of widowers reported the same loss of pension income.

Only a third of women (35 per cent) said they had independent pension wealth, while 40 per cent said they did not have any pension wealth whatsoever.

Relying on a partner's income isn't something that can be fixed overnight.Harris

Dave Harris, Chief Executive Officer at more2life, said: "The later life income discrepancy between men and women is a serious issue that we need to comprehensively address.

"A lack of independent pension wealth or relying on a partner’s income isn’t something that can be fixed overnight.

"Therefore, we need to raise awareness of the alternative options available for women in later life to boost their income in retirement."

The research also revealed the impact of divorce on women’s pension income, with two in five (39 per cent) women saying they had lost out on the retirement income they receive or expect to receive as a result of splitting from their partner.

This is compared to the 21 per cent of men who believe their retirement income had been negatively affected by divorce.

The problem is exacerbated by the persistent gender pensions gap, with women at or nearing retirement now expecting to have a much lower pension pot than their male peers, while facing the prospect of living longer.

As reported by FTAdviser last week, ONS data suggests that the probability of reaching 90 years old is higher for women, with one in three females born in 2017-19 likely to celebrate their 90th birthday, in contrast to one in five males.

This means their money will have to stretch further, perhaps even needing to cover the cost of later-life care.