Women born in 1950s should access pension credit earlier

WOMEN shOULD be protected from missed pension payments worth thousands of pounds by being allowed to draw their pension credit early, a former Labour front-bencher is proposing.
Labour's former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves.Labour's former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves.
Labour's former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves.

Around 2.6 million women born in the 1950s face waiting longer for their state pension as a result of changes pushed through by the Government during the last Parliament.

Eventually men and women will claim their state pension aged 66, later rising to 67.

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Labour West MP Rachel Reeves said information in the House of Commons library shows that affected women with the longest wait to draw their pension could be missing out on £12,000 worth of payments.

The former shadow pensions secretary said: “I support the equalisation of men and women’s pension age, but the Government has not given women enough notice or time to prepare.”

She claims affected women should be able to claim pension credit at the age that they previously would have received the state pension, which was 63 or 64 years old.

Pension credit is a benefit from the Government, which either tops up a weekly income, or rewards those who have saved towards their retirement with an extra payment.

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Ms Reeves believes paying the credit earlier could benefit anyone with modest savings and an income of less than £8,000, and would mean affected women could top up their income if they wanted to retire or reduce the hours they work ahead of their new state pension age.

During questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the House of Commons on Monday, she asked the Government to consider allowing women to draw pension credit in the transitional period.

She said: “Many of the women who we are talking about are caring for elderly parents or young grandchildren.

“Many have been working since they were 15-years-old and very few of them have significant pension savings.”

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Shailesh Vara MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said a £1.1bn concession had already been made in 2011 which means that the two year extension to the state pension age has already been reduced to 18 months.

He added 81% of the women affected will have to work no more than 12 months extra before claiming their pension.