Single pensioner retirement incomes decline

Single men and women in retirement have seen their average income fall over the past nine years, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data has revealed.

The DWP report found that retired single women had an average weekly income of £211 in 2018/19, compared to £228m for single male pensioners.

This represents a decline for both single men and single women, whose average retirement incomes had stood at £236 and £212 respectively in 2009/10.

Retired single women have the smallest retirement incomes and are reliant on benefits for more than half of their cash, according to the report.

Single women were found to be more reliant on benefits during their retirement, with 64 per cent of their total gross income stemming from benefits, which included the state pension.

This compared with benefits accounting for 47 per cent of single mens’ gross income and 36 per cent of gross income for pensioners who were part of a couple.

Meanwhile, a quarter (25 per cent) of single womens’ income came from occupational pensions, compared to 29 per cent for single men, and four per cent came from earnings, compared to 11 per cent for their male contemporaries.

In 18/19, the average income for pensioner couples was £474 per week, more than twice that of single pensioners.

Royal London pensions specialist, Helen Morrissey, said the figures demonstrated that “the gender earnings gap continues into retirement”, adding that “this can be accounted for by men accumulating larger pensions but the data also shows they are earning more from employment as well”.

Morrissey continued: “The employment income of single female pensioners has not grown in the same way as that of their male counterparts with female pensioners on average earning £12 per week in comparison to £46 of that of men.

“While initiatives like auto-enrolment will go a long way towards boosting the income of female pensioners over time we need to ensure that women choosing to remain in the workforce for longer to boost their finances can earn a decent wage.”

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