express– State Pension age changes have been brought in, in recent years, meaning many have faced longer waits than expected to receive their sum from the government. Some have claimed the changes which took place under the Pension Acts of 1995 and 2011 are unfair, and have led to a shift most palpably felt by women. The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign group are just one of the organisations fighting to bring awareness to this cause.
While 2020 was a year where the movement gained significant traction and attention, the group hopes to actualise many of its aims this year.
Unlike another campaign group, WASPI does not ask for the pension age to revert back to 60, and is instead campaigning for transitional arrangements for women affected by change.
It asserts many were not given ample enough notice to prepare for a state pension age increase and have been left out of pocket as a result.
As the campaign moves forward, the group laid out its plans in a New Year message to campaign members and supporters.
It stated: “We very much hope that 2021 will be the year we see our strategy come to fruition for the benefit of all WASPI women.
“We send our very best wishes to our supporters for 2021.”
WASPI reasserted its stance that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “maladministered” changes to the state pension age.
While the group acknowledged the state pension age may have to increase due to life expectancy, and accepts equalisation between men and women, it has taken issue with implementation
As a result, the group shared, it has made complaints to the DWP concerning the matter.
In the recent year, the matter has reached the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) who will now be responsible for looking at the issue further.
The service is free and looks at complaints which have not been resolved by government departments, the NHS and other public organisations.
The WASPI campaign explained the issue further, and what may occur for the group in 2021.
It said: “Government should ensure, through its agencies, that any changes are communicated well, giving sufficient notice with complete and consistently correct information. We all know this didn’t happen.
“If the PHSO finds Maladministration, he will then proceed to phases two and then three of the investigation.”
The PHSO has explained the second stage would involve deciding whether maladministration led to “injustice” for those who have raised the issue.
Subsequently, if progressed, the third stage would involve making recommendations to remedy the matter.
2021, then, could be a year of significant developments for the WASPI campaign’s aims.
For state pension age changes more widely, there could also be developments elsewhere.
A separate campaign group, Backto60, in 2020 had their case heard in the Court of Appeal, but this was ultimately dismissed.
While there is no automatic right to appeal the matter again in the Supreme Court, in September 2020, the group stated they were “considering” an appeal.