A further investigation has been conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions into the state pension age changes and their impact on women. It is believed that 3.8 million women were affected by the decision to increase the state pension age to 60 from its current level of 66 – as part of age equalization. Women claim they weren’t given enough notice and that their lives have been affected both financially and socially.
A full report will be available once the entire investigation is complete. However, the matter has advanced a step further and the PHSO now has its findings. The Ombudsman found that there was also maladministration in Department’s complaint handling. However, it said that the maladministration in DWP’s communication regarding state pension age and National Insurance qualifying years and its complaint handling did not result in all the injustices claimed.
The PHSO received many similar complaints from women who had complained about the DWP’s inability to communicate how many National Insurance qualifying year they needed to receive a state pension. However, it is not currently accepting new complaints regarding these issues. WASPI updates, Stage 1 of the PHSO investigation found that between 1995 and 2004, the DWP’s communication about changes “reflected the standards which we would expect it” to meet. However, in 2005 the Ombudsman said the Department had failed to make a reasonable determination about how to target information to the people affected by the changes – a situation it called maladministration.
The Department suggested that women should be contacted individually by the Department about the matter in the year following. However, it was discovered that they didn’t “act promptly” – another sign of maladministration. WASPI updates, There is no fixed amount. Instead, the Severity of Injustice Scale will be used. A Level 3 injustice might be between PS500 and PS950, while a Level 6 injustice could be as high as PS10,000.
Angela Madden is the chair of WASPI. She stated that “These latest findings confirm” the Ombudsman’s previous conclusion that maladministration occurred at the Department for Work and Pensions. However, nearly 18 months have passed since the Ombudsman’s initial report. We still await his recommendations on a remedy. It is now a long examination of the blindingly obvious.