State pension age change causes decline in female state pension claimants

The number of new female claims for state pension benefits has fallen by 202,000 in one year following changes to the state pension age, new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures have shown.

In its Benefits statistical summary: February 2019, the DWP has revealed that the overall number of state pension recipients in August 2018 dropped by 113,000, in comparison to August 2017, to 12.8 million.

In it's report, the DWP explained: “This fall is mostly because of a decrease in the number of new female claimants of state pension, relating to rises in state pensions age.”

Although the number of male state pension recipients increased by 89,000, the amount of female claimants fell by 202,000.

Furthermore, the number of pension credit recipients also decreased, by 130,000 to 1.7 million, “partly due to equalisation of state pension age, which results in the pension credit qualifying age increasing, among other factors”.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of pension credit recipients were women.

In 2011, an agreement was reached to increase the state pension age for women to 65 by November 2018, before a further increase to the state pension age for both men and women, up to 66, which is set to take effect by 2020.

Commenting, Aegon head of pensions, Kate Smith said: “Today’s DWP benefits figures also show a significant fall in the number of women claiming the state pension as result of the equalisation of state pension age.

“This highlights a gender pensions gap, which will only be exacerbated by the future age increases in the state pension age and should prompt women to think about how much they’ll need to save privately for a comfortable retirement.”

DWP's report also revealed that the average weekly state pension takings increased by £5.48 from last year to £143.82.

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