The age you can claim State Pension is gradually increasing. If you’re a woman who was born in the 1950s, you may have been badly affected by this. If you have to wait longer for your State Pension and don’t have alternative plans in place, it’s important to get any help you’re entitled to.
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. If you are a transgender woman, this information will apply to you as well.
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.
Because the State Pension age has changed so quickly, you might not have had enough time to make other financial plans. Or you might have made decisions, such as accepting redundancy, because you thought you‘d be getting your pension sooner than you now can.
Underpaid State Pensions
If you are a woman born before 6 April 1953 (or a man born before 6 April 1951), 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, but 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 New Style 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.
To find out what you could get, use our benefits calculator or call our Helpline for a free benefits check. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice help.
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 the Carer's Element in Universal Credit . You should also check that the person you’re caring for is getting all the support that 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, or put your date of birth on your CV. 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.
For financial advice, look on the Society of Later Life Advisers or try Unbiased for an independent financial adviser.
You can also get impartial advice from the MoneyHelper