Why you might be affected

For women born in the 1950s, the change in the State Pension age in April 2016 can mean waiting up to six years longer than expected for the State Pension.

Lack of notice of the changes might’ve meant that you didn’t have enough time to make other financial arrangements or that you made decisions, such as accepting redundancy, because you thought you‘d be getting your pension sooner than is now the case.

Working patterns were different in the past. As a woman born in the 1950s you may be more dependent on the State Pension because you:

  • didn’t have access to a workplace pension
  • have been out of the labour market
  • had or have caring responsibilities
  • don’t have a private pension.

If you’re not sure when you can claim your State Pension, you can check your state pension age.

Underpaid State Pensions

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you may qualify for State Pension ‘top-ups’. This allows you to increase your State Pension based on your partner’s National Insurance contributions. It’s usually calculated and paid automatically, however some people – particularly married, divorced or widowed women - may have had their State Pension miscalculated and underpaid.

If you think you’re affected, contact the Pension Service to ask them to recalculate your State Pension. You can do this whether you’re claiming or deferring your State Pension.

Claim what you’re entitled to

If you’re facing financial difficulty as a result of the changes, make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for:

  • working age benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support.

If you’re living with a health condition or a disability you may be entitled to additional support, such as Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance.

Read our benefits pages for more information. To find out what you could get, use our benefits calculator or call our Helpline for a benefits check. You can also contact Citizens Advice for more help.

Caring for someone else

If you spend time looking after someone else, you have rights and there is help available. For example, you may qualify for Carer's Allowance or Carer’s Credit. You should also check that the person you’re caring for is getting all the support they’re entitled to. Carer's Allowance could affect their benefits so seek advice before claiming.


Many employers value the skills and experience of older workers. If you need to continue working but can’t or don’t want to work full-time, it may be possible to organise more flexible working arrangements with your employer.

If you’re looking for work, you don’t have to say how old you are when you apply for a job and employers are not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of age. If you need help, perhaps to learn new skills or improve your CV or interview technique, there is support available, for example from the National Careers Service or your local Jobcentre Plus.

Next steps

If you need financial advice, look for an independent financial adviser who specialises in advice for older people. Try searching on Society of Later Life Advisers or Unbiased.

You can also get impartial advice from the Money Advice Service.

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