DWP gives update on £10,000 compensation for WASPI women owed to millions

A recent report has recommended a pay-out of between £1,000 and £2,950 for those affected
Senior caucasian woman checking pension documents, loan, e-banking, doing paperwork with laptop, mortgage, paying domestic bills at home -Credit:Getty Images

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has provided an update on the compensation for millions of WASPI women, stating it will address the issue at the "earliest possible opportunity".

Last month's report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) concluded that women born between April 1950 and April 1960 are entitled to compensation due to inadequate communication regarding the State Pension age increase from 60 to 66. The ombudsman discovered that some women received less than a year's notice of the pension age change, leaving them insufficient time to alter their retirement savings plans.

This report is the culmination of a five-year probe into the DWP's alleged mishandling and arrives almost ten years after the Women Against State Pension Inequality, known as WASPI, initiated their fight for recompense. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride has recently provided an update, as reported by the Daily Record.

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On a recent episode of Good Morning Britain, host Ed Balls questioned the DWP chief, asking: "Are you going to tell the WASPI women whether they'll get their compensation? When will that happen? Will it be next week? ", reports Chronicle Live.

Stride hit back, stating: "What I've said Ed, and I've said this on the floor of the House (House of Commons), is that there will be no undue delay in us coming forward, but I do want to have sufficient time - and there are very strong feelings about this on all sides of the argument incidentally as to whether compensation should be paid or not, and I do want to make sure that we get that judgmental call right. The Ombudsman of course has also invited Parliament to be part of that process, but we will do this as quickly as we can."

Ed was quick to demand a more specific timeframe, considering the difficulty experienced by postmasters and mistresses affected by the Horizon scandal and those impacted by the contaminated blood scandal. He questioned: "The WASPI women will think they've been waiting quite a long time and I just wondered will it be in April? ".

Stride answered: "I've not yet tied down, for the reasons I've given, to a specific moment in time but just to reassure as I did to the House of Commons at the earliest possible opportunity, we will look at this very carefully."

Despite the GMB host's insistence on an announcement being made prior to the General Election, the DWP chief reemphasised the gravity of the issue, remarking that "proper time is needed to consider a very complex report".

Parliament is being urged to "act swiftly" by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to establish a compensation scheme for affected women. The PHSO has recommended a Level 4 pay-out, which falls between £1,000 and £2,950 to symbolise the "significant" and "lasting impact" experienced by many females if this proposal goes ahead, it could translate to a potential total cost of £3.5 billion to £10 billion to taxpayers.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) believes a Level 3 compensation, less than £1,000, aligns more closely with previous payments offered to claimants. Angela Madden, chairwoman of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), has reacted to the findings, insisting on a "proper compensation package" at Level 6, starting at £10,000 or more.

Madden stated: "The report at least finds that level four compensation is required, but politicians across party lines have previously supported level six - which would far more clearly and reasonably recognises the injustice and loss of opportunities suffered,".

It was pointed out in the report that any women affected should have been notified about their changing pensions approximately four years in advance than they received notification. Females born between April 1950 and April 1960 can use our interactive calculator to ascertain exactly when they should have been alerted to these changes to their pensions according to the ombudsman.

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