11th January 2016
MPs are urging the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to swiftly improve its communications with individuals as it has come to light that many women have been unsure of their state pension entitlements.
The Work and Pensions Select Committee has put together an interim report on the New State Pension (NSP), which goes live in April.
The Committee said that information about when people will get the state pension and how much they will receive were “inadequate” and “confusing”, BBC News reports.
It warns this particularly applies to women, whose pension age is changing.
By 2020 the state pension age will be 66, with women’s pension age being raised to match that of men’s.
Previously, women were entitled to the state pension age at 60, while men had to wait until age 65.
Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at the firm said: “The fundamental aims of the various changes, to move to a simpler state pension, payable at a later age to reflect improved life expectancy and without discriminating according to age, were and still are the right thing to do.
“However, successive governments have given inadequate consideration to the impact of these changes on individuals and how they should be communicated. Even now, just a few months before its launch, the present government is scrambling to get its New State Pension statements fit for purpose.
“They have had years to prepare, in some cases decades. This poor decision making and complacency regarding the importance of good communication, have undermined what were fundamentally good policies.”
“It is also now leading to calls, very late in the day for some aspects of the policy changes such as the state pension age increases for some women to be revisited; these should all have been properly dealt with years ago.”
McPhail highlighted that in the Committee’s report, some recent changes to the statements such as the introduction of a ‘contracted out pension equivalent’ statement, “may well lead to more confusion rather than less”.
Speaking to BBC News, a DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that the public understands the positive changes being made to the state pension. We’ve already done a huge amount – including TV, radio and print advertising – and this activity will continue over the coming months and years.”