State pension age: What next for WASPI? 1950s women call for ‘fast, fair compensation’

Liz Truss grilled by WASPI woman on offering pension help

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Millions of women born in the 1950s saw their state pension age increase from 60 when the age was changed to align with men. While many do not take issue with the increase, some have argued it was poorly communicated – and they have been financially and emotionally impacted as a result.

Some women took the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) to complain about the handling of the matter by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The PHSO states it is continuing its work on stage two of its investigation.

Last year, stage one found between 1995 and 2004 the DWP fell short of “the standards we would expect it to meet”.

The PHSO said in 2005, the DWP failed to make a reasonable decision about targeting information to women impacted by the state pension age change.

In 2006, it was proposed the DWP would write to women individually to let them know about these changes, but the PHSO said it failed to act promptly.

Both instances were described as maladministration. 

But what are the next steps for WASPI women?

The PHSO has shared provisional views for the second stage of the investigation.

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Complainants, their MPs, the DWP and the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) have been provided with the views, and have an opportunity to provide comment.

The Ombudsman is now adapting its approach to the remainder of the investigation in a key update.

It shared: “We are going to begin considering what action we think DWP should take to remedy the apparent injustice. 

“We will share our provisional views about remedy once we have considered any further evidence we receive about our provisional views for stage two.”

Findings about the issues being considered at stage two and remedy will be published at the same time.

The Ombudsman states it is doing so to minimise the wait for findings about any potential remedy.

It has specific guidance regarding financial remedy that many may wish to be aware of – with a set scale.

The scale contains six different levels of injustice a complaint could potentially fall into, increasing with severity.

Each level of the scale is then linked to a range of the financial amounts the PHSO would typically recommend.

For example, Level Three recommends £500 to £900 in remedy, for cases with a “moderate impact on the person affected”.

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The highest level is six, and recommends £10,000 or more for “profound, devastating or irreversible impacts” on the person affected.

For now, the investigation is set to continue in private, following the law on the matter.

The PHSO states it cannot publish its thinking while the investigation is ongoing.

A WASPI spokesperson recently told “WASPI recognises that the clock cannot be just ‘turned back’ to restore our pensions wholesale.

“But we are campaigning for fast, fair compensation to the affected women in recognition of clear mistakes made in Government.”

Recently, a DWP spokesperson told “The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. 

“Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.”

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