Thousands of Waspi Women Owed Payouts for State Pension Age Change

Thousands of Waspi Women Owed Payouts for State Pension Age Change

Millions of women, primarily born in the 1950s, are entitled to compensation following the government’s failure to notify them adequately about changes to the state pension age, resulting in financial hardships for many, according to a significant new report.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) concluded that affected women had lost opportunities to make informed financial decisions due to the lack of communication, impacting their sense of personal autonomy and financial control.

The report recommends compensation for these failings, suggesting payments ranging from £1,000 to £2,950 per affected woman, totaling between £3.5 billion and £10.5 billion. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is not expected to agree with this recommendation, prompting the ombudsman to seek direct intervention from MPs to approve the payments.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the ombudsman, criticized the DWP’s indication that it would refuse to comply, calling it unacceptable. She emphasized the urgency of establishing a compensation scheme to address the affected women’s needs promptly.

In addition to compensation, the ombudsman stressed the importance of the DWP acknowledging its failings and issuing apologies to complainants and others similarly affected.

The investigation spans over five years, examining the government’s handling of state pension changes over two decades. Changes accelerated under the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in 2010, catching out many women who expected to retire at 60 but were not entitled to the state pension until five years later.

The report highlights maladministration by the DWP, resulting in complainants losing opportunities for informed decisions and suffering injustice. Despite the ombudsman’s findings, the DWP’s refusal to accept them has led to the report being laid before parliament for action.

Angela Madden, chairwoman of the Waspi group, expressed frustration at the DWP’s stance, emphasizing the urgency of compensating the affected women. She noted that while the recommended compensation levels fall short of previous suggestions, all parties must commit to addressing the injustice suffered by these women.

Steve Webb, former pensions minister, urged the government to heed the ombudsman’s recommendations, emphasizing the importance of parliamentary action in addressing the issue.

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