Changes to women’s State Pension age have led to a sharp rise in unemployment for women aged between 60-64

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “The rapid increase in the Women’s State Pension Age (SPA) has forced many women to have to go out and look for work in their 60s.

This has resulted in an increase in the number of women aged between 60 and 64 in work by 345,000, or 55 per cent, between 2010 and 2019. Tragically, it has also resulted in a large increase in the unemployment levels of women in this age group – up 128%.

In the last recession, women could retire at 60 – today it’s 66. This is of particular concern in the post-pandemic climate with mass redundancies looming and age discrimination rife. Pre-pandemic, workers over 50 were less likely to receive workplace training and were more likely to be in long term unemployment than their younger counterparts.

For women in particular, we know that the gender pay gap is at its widest for those over 50, which flows through to a significant gender gap in pension savings. With widespread job losses, this paints a bleak picture of the financial security of many women in their 60s.

‘In separate analysis of government data, Rest Less found that Universal Credit claims amongst women over the age of 50 nearly doubled in just two months to 241,000 – an increase of 118,000, or 95 per cent.”

Rest Less analysis*

Women's SPA for Judicial Review

The Facts

  • The Pensions Act 1995 equalised the State Pension Age (SPA) for men and women
  • The SPA was 60 for women until 2010.  SPA for women has risen since 2010 and reached 65 in November 2018.
  • The Pensions Act 2011 brought forward the timetable for increasing women’s SPA to 65 and for increasing both men and women’s SPA to 66 in October 2020, to 67 by 2028 and to 68 between 2037 and 2039.  It was originally intended to reach 65 by 2020 with both men and women’s state pension age to increase in tandem to 66 between 2024 and 2026.
  • Between 2010 and 2018, women’s SPA rose from 60 to 65, reaching 65 in November 2018
  • 2010/11 was the first year of the SPA changes brought in by the 1995 Pensions Act which raised women’s SPA to 65

Notes to Editors

*Based on a bespoke set of data provided to Rest Less by the Office of National Statistics. The data is weighted 2014. The analysis looks at the quarter October to December in each year.

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Aisling Gray
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About Rest Less

Rest Less (restless.co.uk) launched in December 2018 and is a membership community for the over 50s designed to help its members get more out of life. Rest Less has thousands of jobs available on its site from progressive age-friendly employers across the country. Rest Less is the leading site in the UK to offer flexible opportunities to work, volunteer or even start a new career path, specifically targeting the rapidly growing over 50s market.

20 thoughts on “Changes to women’s State Pension age have led to a sharp rise in unemployment for women aged between 60-64

  1. Avatar
    Marilyn on Reply

    It’s nice to have some people on our side. I am 65 still working. Get my pension in September at 66. I feel stressed and tired all the time. I have older friends who have been retired for years and they all meet up and have hobbies. By the time I join them I won’t have much time left.

  2. Avatar
    Ann on Reply

    I’m 64 worked from 16 yrs brought up family cared for older family same as everyone else angry that I should be finished now health issues ongoing not had a chance to be able to finish yet to enjoy the same as my friends who manage to finish.

  3. Avatar
    Alison Mallett on Reply

    Many women who fall into this pension trap are being doubly penalised by the state for being housewife’s mothers and carers at a time when women did not have careers. Many will not have a profession and many more will not have had the resources to build a pension pot and as a result they face a retirement of living in poverty. Equality is good BUT this is not fair in that men falling into this category will have been earning for all of their adult lives usually paid more than female counterparts have built pension pots etc and will enter retirement with financial resources. Shame on the Government for abandoning so many vulnerable women .

  4. Avatar
    Suzanne King on Reply

    I have been so badly affected by this ! I was independent financially, until I was 60, suddenly out of the blue, my world turned upside down, not only had I lost my income, I lost my independence and all that goes with it ! No pension, & a wait of SIX years ! No notice, no letter, no forewarnings ! Devastated !

  5. Avatar
    Mandalay Kirby- Bailey on Reply

    I was made redundant in June 2017, I was 59 yrs old I’m still claiming UVC at 62 yrs old, over the past 3 years I’ve applied for 100’s of jobs and gone to only 5 interviews. When your being interviewed by a young person in their early 30’s you know your not in the running for that job.
    I have another 3 years of facing a job market who are mostly ageists .
    I live in Thanet which has a very high % of unemployment, I also don’t drive which adds to my situation.

  6. Avatar
    Maggie on Reply

    Men were encouraged to retire at 60 and the government paid their NI contributions until they were 65. Women have never had this option

  7. Avatar
    Lynne on Reply

    I will reach 66 in January 2021 and will draw my pension at that point. I a man just about to be made redundant at the age of 65 + 7 months…I just hope I can eek my money out for 6 months as not much hope of re-employment, even if I felt I had the energy to look for it.

  8. Avatar
    Susan Norton on Reply

    I am 64 worked since I was 15 had 2 years off when I had my 2 children.my Husband died 16 years ago cannot afford to retire and I live on a very tight budget.I really don’t know how much longer I can work !

  9. Avatar
    C. Coles on Reply

    The increase in the retirement age by six years has hit my partner and myself very hard. I’ve been left work now for over 8 years, due to severe arthritis and have had no personal income in that time. I’ve had one knee replaced so far. My husband is still working full time on a zero hours contract as a maths teacher and keeping us afloat. We’ve lost out on £54,000, which has prevented us moving into a bungalow which would have helped me enormously. I’ll eventually receive my SP on my 66th birthday in November.

  10. Avatar
    Rose. on Reply

    I’m totally exhausted. I’ve been a single parent. Never been married or had the befit of a duel income household. I’m self employed as a small holder and am just scraping a living. Since turning 60 my strength has dramatically decreased and my hands and fingers have severe arthritis. The thought that I’ve got to keep going for another 3 years until my pension comes in is crippling.

  11. Avatar
    bb on Reply

    I am 62 was made redundant on Saturday with one weeks notice. The chances of getting a ,j ob at the moment are slim. Let us have our pensions and let the youngsters have the jobs.

  12. Avatar
    PAULINE B. on Reply

    This grave injustice to 1950,s born women is scandalous. I myself Started work aged 15 have always expected to receive my state pension at 60. At age 58 found out my pension would not be paid until aged 64. Then a further increase to 66. Nearly £50.000 of lost expected state pension !!! Worked looked after parents never had benefits and Struggled with own health issues. Financial hardship, completely let down ….. no money tree ? Billions for other causes ? People living longer ? some will …..my husband and 8 of my friends have had cancer very sadly some have died. Long life expectancy is not guaranteed !!! All we asked for was fair transitional arrangements … we have needs we did the right thing we cared we have been shamefully let down RIGHT THIS INJUSTCE NOW.

  13. Avatar
    Kate on Reply

    I’m 65 and invisible. I do not exist: no job, no benefit and no pension. I worked for 45 years with the understanding and belief that I would have my pension at 60 but the goalposts were unfairly changed by a shocking, disgraceful government decision. The change to the SPA should have been incremental to allow for a fair transitional period for women born in the 1950s.

  14. Avatar
    B Adams on Reply

    This is so unfair 64 and another two years to go before retirement hard to get up of a morning we should have what is rightfully are’s

  15. Avatar
    Di Anderson on Reply

    My cousin (male) got his pension in March 2019 on his 65th birthday. His wife, 2 days younger than him, had to wait a further 3 months to get hers. How is this equality?
    Also what about the many many women whose divorce settlements will have been based on them getting pension at 60?

  16. Avatar
    Lorna on Reply

    In this pandemic employers are taken the opportunity to make women over 60 redundant – This should be looked into
    30 years loyal service to be given 10 days notice of redundancy (and on my own) it can’t be right

  17. Avatar
    Mrs Banana on Reply

    I was made redundant at 64. My redundancy money lasted for a year. I have been signed on, but there is no hope of work for a woman aged 65, unless it’s bottom wiping. I fully expected to retire at 60, was NOT informed about the changes, only found out by word of mouth among friends. My Job Seeker’s Allowance is finished now, and I have some savings with my husband, so not poor enough for UC. I am just so disappointed that we are not able to have the retirement we had expected, pootling round the countryside. Instead we have to stay at home, because we can’t afford to travel (no bus pass till 66, remember!), living off omelettes. If I ever meet Peter Lilley or James Eadie, hang on to your hat. The Government said it can’t afford to help us, but it can afford to have thousands of young people sat at home on 80% pay. It can afford the High Speed Rail link, and now, apparently, it can afford to build a bloody bridge to Northern Ireland? They are having a laugh at our expense. At least Corbyn pretended to be interested when he promised us cash! Boris, and more pertinently, that rat-faced Cummings, just want us to die off as quickly as possible.

  18. Avatar
    VeronicaPaxton on Reply

    I am 64 in august dont reach state pension age till august 2022 I work night shift as a carer finding it a real struggle I have back and knee problems I think its shocking having to work untill I am 66 health is not great

  19. Avatar
    Angela Taylor on Reply

    I note you say you are helping/ encouraging those like myself to look for work as the SPA is ever increasing. This is with good intent unless you are funded by Government either directly or indirectly.
    We should be reducing not increasing state pension age so that the second most affected (especially during covid) 18-24 are able to get real jobs. Not the 6 month apprenticeships spoken of recently and with no definite job offer at the end of it.
    Life Expectancy is now on the way down so the reasoning behind it is purely a money grab. As you are aware has/will impacted 1950’s/60 woman significantly. This being due to lack of notification and a crude and spiteful increase without any assessment on how they would be affected in the true sense. Even their own DWP Minister now Baroness Altman told by Iain Duncan Smith to delete from her report, that this would do harm to this cohort.
    I Hv finally done my extra 5yrs7 month born mid54 but I will never stop fighting this injustice.
    I will also promote CEDAW so that we can protect women’s rights on The International Stage. We are less safe now we are out of Europe.
    I await like hundreds and thousands of others the outcome of our Appeal taken to Royal Courts of Justice by #BackTo60

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