Exclusive: Amber Rudd faces new challenge over maladministration of the raising of pension age from 50s Women
Two supporters of the BackTo60 campaign have got professional legal support to challenge the government for maladministration over the failure to notify them over the raising of the pension age.
The fresh challenge is in addition to the hearing next Friday at the High court to decide whether BackTo60 can challenge the government through a judicial review.
Pensions Litigation lawyer Mr Ivan Walker (Principal of Walkers Solicitors based in Kent) has agreed to advise Fran Martin and Ros Pain-Tolin who, are two of the lead cases of 1950s Women. They have got to the final stage of presenting their case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Mr Walker recently represented the members of the Lloyds Bank pension schemes in a landmark High Court claim regarding sex discrimination in the system for contracting out of the State Earnings-related Pension Scheme.
The move is significant because professional legal advice is essential in bringing such a case. The women are launching a crowd funding appeal to help finance the move. The link is here:
The women have faced enormous and heart rending struggles to cope since the government pushed back the right to claim a pension from 60 to 65 and it is going up to 66 by 2020. Their struggle is typical of many others who have commented on this blog and have been left with virtually nothing to live on.
Fran Martin told me :
"I received a letter in 2013 from DWP – which indicated that I had a 6 yr hike added to my SP age – This was received 2 years before my 60th birthday in 2015. I was totally shocked and still am.
"I have gone from an optimistic cheerful forward thinking person to a virtual recluse with all the incumbent stresses and strains that this places on other family members. Health has deteriorated too, with high blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety being I feel part and parcel of the result of being misled at what is a vulnerable time in anyone's life.."
Sleepless nights have become the new norm and even whilst now prescribed sleeping tablets I can still be wide awake at 4 or 5am with worry for a very bleak future if even that exists, I'm not convinced it does."
She became redundant in 2015 and then saw her plans for a happy retirement ruined.
" I had purchased a retirement cottage in 2008 in Aberdeenshire completely unaware of any state pension Legislation. and which DWP treated as capital – Forced in Dec 2015 to put the cottage up for sale – but with no work and no one coming into Aberdeen to rent, to date the cottage is still on the market. and have costs for the upkeep of same and the flat that I live in Aberdeen.
" I am ineligible for any benefits as the DWP class the cottage as capital. I was also forced to draw down a small private pension in 2015 at the worst possible times for annuities, and use this and small savings to eek out a bleak existence – Dependant to on a mother in her mid 80’s which quite frankly I never thought I would have to be and obviously places stress and worry on her too."
Ros told me: "I always expected my State Pension to be at 60 in 2015. I never received a letter. ICE ( who handle pension complaints)say that one was 'probably' sent in Feb 2012, but they did not keep any 'case specific' records so cannot confirm."
"I only have a small works pension that I had taken early. I also a degenerative back condition which causes me pain most days and I suffer from Asthma.
" I really don't know how I would manage at all, if I didn't have my husband and his Pension to rely on as well. He is now 70 with his own health issues. My Mother almost 95 has also given financial support over the last few years."
Both women are determined to fight the system so Amber Rudd in her new role as work and pensions secretary better look out as a storm is gathering not only from them but from millions of other people who feel they have been robbed of their state pension when they should have had it.