Pension: Expert advises people to 'start sooner'
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The department was accused of “maladministration” in its handling of state pension ages. In response, WASPI has published an open “template letter” to MPs while it waits for the DWP to respond to their requests.
A report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) found the Government failed to take into account the need for specific and targeted communication on changes to the state pension for women born in the 1950s.
Furthermore, PHSO’s findings said the DWP continued to take the same course of action despite realising their then-response was not resolving the situation.
Published in July 2021, the Government has had almost a full month to address the PHSO report, however none has been received so far.
As an organisation, WASPI has been calling for compensation for the women affected by the state pension age changes since 2015.
For women who are interested in contacting their MP to push the Government to resolve the pension inequality issue, WASPI have shared an open “template letter” to assist in lobbying politicians.
Specifically, the letter advice seeks to help women and WASPI activists who have received replies from MPs to their queries, but are confused by the response and looking to be heard.
However, WASPI is encouraging women to use their own words when contacting their parliamentary representative as MPS hate “robin letters.”
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The letter advice begins with a reiteration of WASPI goals and history in order to clarify the campaign’s unique objective.
It states: “Thank him/her for his/her interest and for writing to the DWP (if they have offered to do so), but explain that WASPI has never campaigned for full restitution (or reimbursement of ‘lost pensions’), or for the State Pension age (SPA) to revert to 60 and nor are we opposed to equalisation.
“He/she may be confusing the Judicial Review which was for a different campaign group with WASPI, and WASPI never claimed discrimination.
“However, the way the Government failed to properly inform women has been found by the PHSO to be maladministration. It is entirely in the remit of the Ombudsman, if he finds injustice, to recommend a remedy.
“As a campaign WASPI has always known we were not informed properly, and we are now seeking fair and reasonable compensation for the impact the lack of notice has had on women affected.”
As well as general letter etiquette tips and pointers on WASPI history, the advice also includes ways of responding to MP talking points regarding the Government’s response to the historic state pension age changes.
It continues: “Some MPs are including in their replies comment about ‘Government Concessions of £1.1billion’. It should be noted that this didn’t compensate anyone for anything, it applied to both men and women.
“What it meant was that when the Government accelerated the increase of the State Pension age to equalise in 2018 rather than 2020, they delayed the accelerations very slightly.
“In effect the Government didn’t save as much money from our State Pensions as they hoped they would. This is an historic injustice, the largest case of maladministration ever brought to the Ombudsman, affecting 3.8million women.
“The Government knew they had failed to communicate the changes adequately and chose to do nothing about it.
“The time has come for this matter to be addressed by the Government and fair and reasonable compensation to be offered to the women affected by the maladministration.
“Add that you look forward to discussing it further with him/her when the Ombudsman concludes Stage 2 of his investigation. WASPI will be very happy to meet with any MP who would like to engage with this process.”
When previously speaking to Express.co.uk about the issue, a DWP spokesperson said: “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal has supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court the claimants permission to appeal.
“In a move towards gender equality, it was decided more than 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.”
For those looking for advice in reaching out to their MP on behalf of WASPI, the campaign is reachable via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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