‘Had no idea!’ WASPI woman, 70, frustrated at state pension age change – ‘real shock’

Spring Statement: Thewliss calls for support for WASPI women

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The state pension age was traditionally 60 for women and 65 for men, but age parity was then implemented. For some women it meant waiting longer for the state pension age, with many arguing they were not given ample notice. 

This was the case for Jennifer Davis, a 1950s-born woman from Essex.

The 70-year-old exclusively told Express.co.uk: “I was one of these WASPI women. When I reached 60, I was told the year before that I had to work until 61 and a half.

“When I was told, I had breast cancer and was going through chemo, and my husband died.

“It was a real shock that I had to work for another 18 months, and I was angry with the pension system.”

The official campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is calling for “fair and fast compensation” for all women affected by state pension age changes.

It is the campaign group’s belief that women were not provided with ample notice about state pension age changes.

Amid their ongoing legal complaint filed with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO), WASPI has called for compensation between £11,666 and £20,000 for those impacted. 

In a similar sense, Ms Davis is keen for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to rectify the issue, and delved deeper into her own circumstances.

She continued: “The Government changed this and I really don’t know how they’re going to fix it, other than paying out to women affected.

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“When I was 59, my husband passed away and it was a very difficult time for me.

“I had no idea until I recovered from my illness about the entirety of the situation that I was going to face.

“When I became a widow, everything stopped – my husband’s pension, and I had no income because I was sick.

“Nobody informed me of what was happening. All I received were letters sympathising with me because of the death of my husband, but telling me about what would be cancelled because he was no longer alive.

“I was in a terrible state about it all really.”

Eventually, Ms Davis explained, her sister-in-law took her to the Jobcentre to find out more.

She said: “I was sitting there, upset because my husband had died, and stressed because I was going through chemotherapy. I had to get a job to see me through because state pension age was increasing – I couldn’t retire when I thought I’d be able to.

“The people at the Jobcentre really helped and put me into the disability section because they believed I wasn’t capable.

“But it was tough hearing I wasn’t entitled to the support I got previously from my husband, and that I had to keep working because of state pension age increases.”

However, Ms Davis described the state pension age increase as only the start of her struggles.

She added: “The news was really just the beginning. Things haven’t improved since.

“My husband didn’t expect to die. I didn’t expect to get cancer. How could we? But it seemed like when I needed it most, there was no one to help me.

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“Then, when I did reach pension age the support I did get was pathetic.”

Ms Davis has held on to some frustration regarding the changes to her state pension age.

She concluded: “I must be one of the really unlucky ones. That’s simply because I reached 60 at absolutely the wrong time.”

A WASPI spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “WASPI is calling on the Government to agree to fast and fair compensation for WASPI women to reflect the emotional, physical and financial impacts of the lack of notice women were given about their State Pension age increases.  WASPI isn’t opposed to equalisation of the State Pension age, but the lack of notice was hugely disadvantageous for women born in the 1950s.

“The Ombudsman has found maladministration by the DWP occurred.  It’s time to put it right.  There is no more time to lose.”

A DWP spokesperson added: “We support millions of people every year and our priority is ensuring they get the help and support to which they are entitled. 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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