Further rises to the state pension age – what’s happening?

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The previous government introduced legislation to increase the state pension age to 66 by 2020 for both women and men. It also brought forward the rise in state pension age to 67, and this will affect people born after April 1960. But how much could the state pension age rise in the future? It’s due to be reviewed in 2017.

Further rises to the state pension age — what’s already law

The state pension age for women is currently 64 years (as I update this) and rising. It will be 65 by 2018 and 66 by October 2020.

SAVVY TIP: For men, the state pension age is currently 65, rising to 66 by 2020.

The state pension age will rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028. It will mean that people born from 5th March 1961 won’t get their state pension until they are 67. However, it will affect those born from April 6th 1960, when the state pension age will rise to 66 years and one month and gradually, over the next 11 months, to 67.

SAVVY TIP: Beyond that, it’s not due to rise to 68 until 2044, affecting people born after 5th April 1977. Anyone born after 5th April 1978 won’t get their state pension until they’re aged 68.

The state pension age — what’s proposed

The coalition government wanted to bring in a change that would mean that the state pension age rose in line with increased life expectancy. It said that there would be a review of the state pension age every five years, with the first review being finished by May 2017.

SAVVY TIP: The coalition government said that the review in May 2017 wouldn’t change the state pension age or the timetable to increase the state pension age from 66 to 67, however the timetable for increasing the state pension age to 68 could change as a result of the review.

In the autumn statement of 2013, the chancellor said that adults would spend a third of their lives in retirement, which implies a state pension age of 68 by mid 2030s and 69 by the late 2040s.

The problem with raising the state pension age in line with increasing life expectancy is that we’re not all living longer. In fact, Office for National Statistics figures show that the gap between those who live the longest and those who have a shorter lifespan is increasing — even though the average age we’re living to is rising.

SAVVY TIP: If you want to read more about this, you can read my submission to the Pensions Bill Committee in 2013.

What Ros Altmann said

The pensions minister, Ros Altmann, said in July 2015 that she wants the pension age review in 2017 to look not only at rising life expectancy but also “wider social, occupational and gender factors”. This could mean that it takes into account that fact that women are far more likely to be dependent on the state pension than men and/or that certain occupations are more likely to mean you won’t live to the average age. We will have to wait and see. You can read Baroness Altmann’s full speech on the Gov.uk website.

MY VIEW: I’ve felt that women have had a very rough deal from many of the state pension changes introduced in the 1990s and over the last few years. In particular, the rise in state pension age to 66 is penalising many women.

I’ve always said I’m not against equalising the state pension age to 65 for women and men, but women should have been written to individually at the time it happened, and again every few years, so they knew exactly when they would get their state pension. This never happened. It will be interesting to see what difference having a woman as pensions minister – and one who has campaigned for a fairer deal for women on state pensions – makes.

Update

The Conservative government commissioned an independent report into future rises in state pension age by John Cridland CBE. It was published in March 17 and the government was supposed to respond by May 8th, but didn’t because Theresa May had called the snap election by then. You can read my article on John Cridland’s review into future rises in the state pension age.

Related articles:

10 things you need to know about the state pension

Raising the state pension age to 66 – when can you expect your pension?

Useful links:
You can find out when you’ll get your state pension using the Gov.uk state pension age calculator.

Unhappy about your state pension?

There’s a campaign group called Women Against State Pension Inequality or WASPI, which has a WASPI Facebook page which you might be interested in getting involved with or finding out more about. They’re also on Twitter under @WASPI_campaign

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