WASPI compensation payments set out in five categories based on dates of birth

WASPI campaigners wait to meet with SNP Leader John Swinney in Glasgow Southwest constituency on June 7, 2024
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Women affected by sudden changes to their State Pension age could be due compensation ranging from £0 to £10,000 according to a package that has been drawn up. Full details of the proposals, with five categories based on dates of birth, are given below.

At the bottom of the scale, some would not be in line for any recompense at all from the Department for Work and Pensions if they only suffered "a low-impact injustice such as annoyance, frustration, worry or inconvenience" with "no other adverse effects or ongoing wider impact." The smallest amount of cash offered would be £100 to £450 for Level 2 injustice.

The payments due to each of the 3.8 million women in the proposals would be based on their date of birth and how much of a change they experienced in their pension age. The 1995 Conservative Government's State Pension Act put up the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 so that it was the same as that for men and then a further change under the Pensions Act 2011 increased the pension age for both sexes to 66.

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Campaigners from Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have been battling for justice since 2015 and the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) found the DWP guilty of maladministration in failing to give enough notification of the changes. Earlier this year the ombudsman published its final reports and asked Parliament to make sure a compensation scheme is set up.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: "The report hinges on the department's decisions over a narrow period between 2005 and 2007 and the effect of those decisions on individual notifications."

SNP MP Alan Brown presented a State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill that requires the Government to publish proposals for a compensation scheme. His planned legislation says: "In making proposals for compensation... the Secretary of State must have regard to the severity of injustice scale published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), and must in particular make proposals for compensation in line with that scale, as provided for in the following table."

The bill then sets out details of how the compensation should be given out in five payment categories based on dates of birth. These are all listed below:

Compensation category 1

Dates of birth: April 6, 1950 to April 5, 1951

Range of changes to State Pension age: Between 1 day and 1 year

PHSO compensation scale: Levels 1 (£0) and 2 (£100-£450)

Compensation category 2

Dates of birth: April 6, 1951 to October 5, 1952

Range of changes to State Pension age: Between 1 year, 1 day and 2 years

PHSO compensation scale: Level 3 (£500-£950)

Compensation category 3

Dates of birth: October 6, 1952 to April 5, 1953

Range of changes to State Pension age: Between 2 years, 1 day and 3 years

PHSO compensation scale: Level 4 ( £1,000-£2,950)

Compensation category 4

Dates of birth: April 6, 1953 to December 5, 1953

Range of changes to State Pension age: Between 3 years, 2 months, 1 day and 5 years

PHSO compensation scale: Level 5 ( £3,000-£9,950)

Compensation category 5

Dates of birth: December 6, 1953 to April 5, 1960

Range of changes to State Pension age: Between 5 years, 2 months, 1 day and 6 years

PHSO compensation scale: Level 6 ( £10,000 or more)

The package detailed above goes beyond what was recommended in the ombudsman's report, which suggested that compensation at level four, ranging between £1,000 and £2,950, could be appropriate for each of those affected. That would involve spending between around £3.5 billion and £10.5 billion of public funds, the report said.

The bill containing the compensation package has now been set aside because of Parliament being dissolved for the General Election on July 4. However, Mr Brown says he hopes the proposals could be reintroduced if there isn't enough movement on compensation being agreed when the next Government is in office.

WASPI said: "Significant changes to the age we receive our State Pension have been imposed upon us with a lack of appropriate notification, with little or no notice and much faster than we were promised – some of us have been hit by more than one increase.

"As a result, hundreds of thousands of us are suffering financial hardship, with not enough time to re-plan for our retirement. Women are telling us that they can’t believe their retirement age has increased by 4, 5 or 6 years and they didn't even know about it.

"A one-year difference in birthday can make an almost three-year difference to State Pension age. A large percentage of these women only received a letter advising them of significant increases to their State Pension age within one year (i.e. when they were 59) of their expected State Pension age of 60. Very many others received only 2, 3, 4 and 5 years' notice.

"Many women report receiving NO letter EVER. Others say letters were sent to the wrong address despite notifying the DWP of the address change."

Tom Selby, director of public policy at AJ Bell, said: "It's important to note that the recommendation made by the ombudsman relates to maladministration, rather than the fairness of the decision to equalise the state pension age for men and women.

"And even if the ombudsman's recommended compensation measures were implemented in full, this would fall well short of campaigners’ calls for £10,000 to be paid to all those affected – a figure which would add tens of billions of pounds to a bill that would ultimately be borne by taxpayers.

"It is hard to imagine any government going beyond the recommendation made by the ombudsman, particularly given the difficult fiscal position the country finds itself in."

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