Why you might be affected
For women born in the 1950s, the change to the State Pension age in April 2016 may have meant waiting up to six years longer than expected for their State Pension.
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.
Lack of notice about the changes, might have meant that you didn’t have enough time to make other financial arrangements. Or you made decisions, such as accepting redundancy, because you thought you‘d be getting your pension sooner than you now can.
You can check your state pension age on Gov.uk.
Underpaid State Pensions
If you were born before 6 April 1953 (or 6 April 1951 for men), you’d claim basic State Pension and may qualify for ‘top-ups’. This allows you to increase your State Pension based on your partner’s National Insurance (NI) contributions. It’s usually calculated and paid automatically, however some people – particularly women who paid reduced NI rates - 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 delaying your State Pension.
Claim what you’re entitled to
If you’re facing financial difficulty because of the changes, make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get:
- working age benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support.
Check whether you qualify for grants from charities to help with some of your costs, such as travel, housing, energy or unplanned expenses. Search Turn2us to look for grants. Or read our factsheet Extra help with essential costs if you’re on a low income.
Caring for someone else
If you spend time looking after someone else, there is help available. 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, you may be able 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. Employers are not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of age. If you need support – perhaps to learn new skills or improve your CV or interview technique – it is available. Try the National Careers Service or your local Jobcentre Plus.