Cost of living: Pensioner reveals struggles after early bill payment
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The state pension age rose between 2018 and 2020 and is due to rise again in the coming years. Some 700,000 65-year-olds have had to wait another year to receive payments.
The move has boosted Treasury finances by £4.9billion a year.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, raising the state pension age to 66 has more than doubled poverty rates among 65-year-olds.
It found nearly 100,000 people were pushed into subsistence by the end of 2020 due to the rise in state pension age between 2018 and 2020.
Emily Andrews of the Centre for Ageing Better, the charity which funded the IFS report, said: “These statistics are shocking and show the number of 65-year-olds in absolute poverty rose from one in ten before the state pension age increase to almost one in four just two years later.”
A Government spokesman said: “We know that older workers, including those approaching state pension age, are a huge asset to our economy while for those who can’t work, we provide a strong welfare safety net, which includes Universal Credit.
“We also understand that people are struggling with rising prices which is why we have acted to protect millions of the most vulnerable through at least £1,200 of direct payments this year, and there is a wealth of additional financial support available when people reach state pension age, including Pension Credit – which unlocks an additional £650 cost of living payment for those currently claiming it – and Winter Fuel Payments.”
Could the state pension age be reduced?
The findings have spurred former pensions minister Ros Altmann to call on Boris Johnson to lower the state pension age, or to introduce flexibility on when certain Brits can claim it.
Her plan would see those who are unable to continue working receive a pension of around £84 a week instead of having to rely on other benefits.
They would still be eligible to receive the full amount if they qualify when they reach the current state pension age.
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Baroness Altmann, appointed pensions minister by David Cameron in 2015, said: “This is about social justice as well as social support.
“Forcing everyone to wait longer because average life expectancy has risen ignores this near 20-year differential.
“Many have had hard manual working lives which took a toll on their health so
flexibility in state pension starting age is required.”
Baroness Altmann argued a sliding scale should be created, based on a variety of factors including health, age and National Insurance contributions.
She continued: “It is draconian that those with 45 years on their pension record cannot get a penny early.
“This would create a sliding scale of payments based on health, age and NI contributions.
“Putting older people on unemployment benefits when they can’t work is heartless.”
The Government has not acknowledged the plan, with a spokesperson saying: “For those who can’t work, we provide a strong welfare safety net, which includes Universal Credit.”
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