Lawyers are readying a legal challenge on behalf of thousands of women who feel cheated by state pension rules.
WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have instructed solicitors to go to court over a move by the government to revise state pension rules that make them wait longer to collect their retirement cash.
Before the rules were changed, women born in the early 1950s had their state pension age set at 60 years old.
Their retirements were delayed to align with the state pension age for men at 65 years old by 2020 on the grounds of gender equality.
The result is thousands of women now have to work extra years before they can claim their state pensions.
Retirement plans in chaos
The protesters argue the decision came too late and was poorly explained, leading women to have to change their retirement plans at short notice.
WASPI argues that the decision to change the age when the state pension would start was not legal and that the poor explanation of the policy was maladministration by the Department of Work and Pensions.
The group has launched a crowdfunding appeal to pay for the legal action online.
“Further fundraising will provide the start of funding for us to engage in legal correspondence with the DWP and begin to pursue whichever legal challenge we are advised offers the best prospects for success.”
Meanwhile, WASPI is maintaining a campaign to raise awareness of their protests.
A petition with more than 270,000 signatures arguing against the unfairness of pension changes for women has been handed in at Downing Street and local protests are taking place around the country.
Pension minister stands firm
However, pensions minister Richard Harrington has reiterated government policy that no compensation will be paid to women born in the 1950s as a result of the state pension rule changes.
He also announced that no rule changes are underway and that WASPI protests will not change the government’s decision.
The WASPIs want a ‘bridging pension’ that will pay out when they reach 60 and last until the state pension kicks in.
“Many women discover only through our campaign that they’re not going to get their pension when they’d expected,” said Anne Keen, one of WASPI’s founder members.
“It wrecks their plans. Some people spend their savings and then face the indignity of signing on. They quite reasonably expected to be in receipt of the state pension and they hadn’t been told otherwise. Some of those who contact us are suicidal. It’s heartbreaking.”