DWP shares key State Pension changes triggered by WASPI compensation battle

A key figure at the Department for Work and Pensions has shared the lessons learned from the State Pension age changes that affected 3.8 million women. Campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) continue to push for compensation after the pension age for went up to 65 to match that for men and then to 66 for both sexes, with the DWP ruled guilty of maladministration in not giving enough notice of the revised policy.

Peter Schofield, who serves as Permanent Secretary of the DWP, was asked by the Work and Pensions Committee what lessons had been learned from the controversy. He said: "It goes back to a lot of the conversation about how we engage with customers. How do we make it easier for our customers to understand the changes that are made?"

He highlighted improvements in the Department's services, noting: "One of the things that's happened over the last few years is, it is much easier to use our online systems to find out when your State Pension age is, but also to check your National Insurance record, check your State Pension and how that works.

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"We have recently introduced an ability to go online and see where you stand in your ability to make voluntary National Insurance contributions, to do that online, and to give people the confidence of how they understand the nature of what their income will be in retirement and what they need to do to support that. We have not talked about the pension dashboard programme, but I know you are taking evidence next month on that.

"These are all things that we are doing to try to make it easier for millions of people to know where they stand with their income in retirement and to make provision for that when they can in their working age."

He concluded by focusing on the goal of these enhancements: "Just to give people the confidence of how do they understand the nature of what their income will be in retirement and what they need to do to support that."

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride declined to commit to a timeline for issuing compensation, noting that a complicating factor is that many WASPI women "suffered no injustice at all". He elaborated: "Those are things that one is having to consider along with lots of others incidentally, in order to try and come to something that is fair, acceptable and right. It is quite a challenge."

Angela Madden, chair of the WASPI campaign, was present in the visitors' gallery, closely following his responses. Speaking to the Express, she said: "We did shake his hand at the end of the session and say we'd love to work with him on it [setting a timetable]. He said hopefully there will be a meeting in the near future, so he was non-committal but he did say hopefully we can set up a meeting.

"If they could press him on at least a timetable, we'd know when they're going to start bringing this to a close."

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