Category Archives: over 60s

Millions may have to wait until age 68 to claim

The state pension age could increase to 68 by 2039 – seven years earlier than planned, according to former CBI director general John Cridland, the Government’s independent reviewer of state pension age.

And the triple lock guarantee which sees the State Pension rise by at least 2.5 per cent should be scrapped during the next Parliament.

If the recommendations are taken up, people now in their 40s face their state pension age being pushed back a year meaning more than five million people – around 750,000 people a year for seven years – would be forced to wait longer for the state pension.

Those workers currently in their 30s and younger may eventually face the possibility of drawing their pension at 70.

The state pension age is already due to go up in stages, with a rise to 67 by 2028. The next increase to 68 is not due to happen until between 2044 and 2046.

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Feelings mount on the Pension age controversy.

Most of the national newspapers carry stories of the unhappiness of many people with the way in which the pension age is being raised to age 67.

The Daily Telegraph says Women are being “shafted and short-changed” by a decision to accelerate the rate at which the state pension age.

The Sunday Times mentions the case of 2 sisters aged 19 months apart   where the elder of the 2 has to wait 4 1/2 years longer than he elder sister.

The Guardian says  :

Ministers accused of ‘mis-selling’ during debate over women’s pensions

MPs queued up to criticise government at Westminster Hall meeting to discuss pension-age increases that were described as ‘cruel and heartless’

The independant says Campaigners have claimed a major victory after MPs unanimously voted by 158 to 0 to help women hit by state pension age rises.

Our readers have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the raising the state pension age for a long time.  It is no wonder George Osborne likes the changes as it is saving the government a fortune

How much will these changes save?

The proposals in the Pensions Bill are estimated to save £30bn in benefit payments and make a further £8.1bn in tax and National Insurance receipts under the proposed timetable.

Thousands of OAPs trapped by crippling equity debts from equity release loans

80,000 couples took out ‘equity release loans’ more than one decade ago
But compound interest charges mean their debt has more than doubled
They are also hit with early-redemption charges if they have to sell house
Experts calling for Financial Ombudsman Service to launch probe after hundreds of complaints.

Thousands of pensioners who took cash out of their home for a more comfortable retirement face crippling charges and early-repayment fines if they have to sell their home, it has emerged.

More than 80,000 couples who took out so-called equity release loans more than a decade ago have found that compound interest charges mean their debt has more than doubled.

In addition, if they have to sell the house because one spouse dies, or has to go into residential care – or if they simply want to downsize – they are hit with early-redemption charges of up to 25 per cent of the original loan.

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Some in northern counties envy the Scottish benefits – but would they last?

Men from the Ministry/Scots Referendum
As we near the fateful day, it perhaps isn’t surprising that there are people south of the border who are envious of the benefits which people in Scotland enjoy free:

  • Prescription charges
  • Elderly Care
  • University Tuition Fees
  • Bus Passes from age 60
  • Bedroom Tax
  • Hospital parking charges
  • Bridge Toll Fees

Listening to some of the televised debates one could take an implication that an independent Scotland would be able to make more things free. In reality we think it might be wise to keep hold of this list, and see how many remain after a few years of independence, and the facing of reality alone. I’d put a better chance on them remaining if Scotland decides to remain part of the Union.

Manchester – the UK’s first ‘age-friendly’ city ?

No public toilets, not enough benches – for many older people towns and cities have become no-go areas.

But with the number of over 65-year-olds expected to double in the next 30 years – how do you make places more accessible to older people?

Graham Satchell has been finding out in Manchester, the UK’s first city to be recognised as age-friendly by the World Health Organisation

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Elderly and disabled ‘could lose bus services’

Elderly and disabled passengers could lose vital bus services because of cuts in government funding, councils in England warn.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says support for the concessionary fares scheme has been reduced by over a third since 2010.

Under the scheme, councils have to provide free off-peak travel for those aged over 62 or disabled.

The government says it provides funding to meet subsidised travel costs.

Local authorities say the funding from central government for concessionary fares has been cut by £261m since the coalition came to power.

Now councils say they are forced to subsidise the scheme, often by cutting back on other local transport services.

It is a particular problem for county councils trying to provide relatively expensive rural bus routes and school transport.

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Australian approach to funding pensions: no Aus. pension for some but UK pensions welcome !

This article has been submitted by a UK resident familiar with our blog.

There is much discussion and comment in the UK on pensions for older people, including the adequacy of state pensions, and the problems of funding state pensions for the growing proportion of elderly people. Is the government looking at this issue in as wide a way as they might ? In Australia, with many connections with the UK, the approach is quite different, as a few key aspects of the Australian system will show:
• A full state pension for a single person in Australia is approx. £13,400 per annum or for a couple approx. £20,200. (The higher rate proposed by the UK government of £140 per week amounts to a mere £7,300 per person year)
• No tax payable on pension income
• No state pension is payable to ‘wealthy’ people (see definition of wealthy below)
• People who fall between the minimum and maximum income/assets rules receive a part state pension.

What is wealthy?
No state pension is paid in Australia to a single person with an annual income above £29,400 or £45,000 for a couple.
A full state pension (amounts set out above) is paid in Australia to older people with assets (excluding their home) up to the figures set out below:
Age Pension assets test – for FULL Age Pension
Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single £128,400, £221,000
Couple (combined) £182,000 £275,000

No state pension is paid to older people with assets above the following:
Age Pension assets test (upper limit)
Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single £472,000 £565,000
Couple (combined) £703,500 £794,000

People who fall between the two asset levels set out above receive a part state pension.
Assets include
• Property other than main residence
• House contents
• Cars
• Boats
• Shares
• Bank accounts
• Superannuation funds

The income and asset rules operate separately, i.e. if you fail on either test (on income or assets) no pension is received. (But bear in mind that no tax is payable on pension(superannuation) income which may more than compensate for loss of state pension.)

There is a certain irony in the fact that expats from the UK may well be able to receive a UK state pension, whilst getting no Australian state pension where rules set out above exclude entitlement.
Offical Australian Governmentwebsite info

We welcome articles for publication which are likely to be of interest to our readers.

£144 per week pension – most women and low earners deemed better off

A radical reform of the state pension has been unveiled, under which women, the self-employed and low earners will have their weekly income from the public purse in retirement boosted in a new flat-rate payment worth £144 in today’s money.

The plan to consolidate a plethora of different state pensions and tax credits into the new single rate will be paid for by higher-income earners.

However, by the time today’s schoolchildren retire, more than half will be worse off than they would be on today’s schemes. The plan is also likely to trigger a tussle between public services and the Treasury because the new system will bar public sector workers from opting out of part of their state pension contributions in return for a lower state pension – a system which currently delivers a national insurance rebate from the chancellor to schools, hospitals and other employers worth more than £6bn a year.

The plans – detailed in a white paper announced to parliament by the pensions minister, Steve Webb – were widely welcomed by pensions experts, who said they would encourage more people to save for retirement and boost the success of the government’s recent introduction of auto-enrolment for company pension schemes, under which employees now have to opt out rather than choose to opt in.

Currently the complexity of the system, lack of clarity over how much people will get from the state, and the risk of the state pension being reduced by means-testing are all blamed for deterring half of the workforce from paying into their company pension schemes to top up their income when they retire.

“The message is now very simple: if you want more than £7,500 a year to live on in retirement, you need to start saving,” said Tom McPhail, head of pensions research for investment advisers Hargreaves Lansdown.
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The Lolly Share this page: Stay connected: The Lolly £144-a-week state pension is a ‘con’, says pensioners’ group

£144-a-week state pension is a ‘con’, says pensioners’ group
The government outlined its plan for a £144-a-week state pension in a white paper today.

The introduction of a flat-rate state pension, slated for 2017, has been slammed as a ‘con trick’ by a pensioners’ group.

The government is expected to announce its plans for the universal pension in a white paper today. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will commit to introducing a flat-rate pension of £144 from April 2017.

It is also expected to increase the number of years of national insurance contributions required to qualify for the full state pension from 30 years contributions to 35 years. A minimum level of 10 years of contributions will be needed to qualify for any state pension.

The paper is believed to contain more detail about linking the state pension age to longevity and recommend that the age be reviewed at least once during the life of each parliament and provide a minimum of 10 years’ notice before any change.

Although the government has promoted the flat-rate state pension as a boost for pensioners, the National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) has called it a ‘con trick’ for future generations.

It said the government is asking taxpayers to pay more and work longer but offering them less in state pension than they would get now.

The current rules allow men and women to pay 30 years’ worth of NI contributions in order to get the full basic and second state pension of around £150 a week but the white paper will offer £144 a week for 35 NI contributions.

It also criticised the fact that the change in the state pension excludes existing pensioners and leaves five million pensioners on pensions that are lower than the proposed £144 a week.

The NPC pointed out that existing pensioners ‘will be left to struggle on with a low state pension and a complicated means-test pension credit which 1.8 million older people still don’t claim despite being eligible’.

The NPC is also against linking pensions to longevity as it would disadvantage the poorest in society.

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13 ways to stay healthy in 2013 from Age UK

Improve your health and wellbeing in the coming year with these 13 simple steps – you don’t even have to give anything up

So this year, we’ve come up with 13 simple tips – one a day – to help get your year off to a great start.

e.g. 13. Exercise your brain

New US research shows that keeping your brain active by reading, writing, completing a crossword or doing a Sudoku puzzle can help to delay memory loss and even reduce the onset, or progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, German researchers found that you need to keep your mind AND body active to get the most benefit – so 30 minutes of exercise, such as gardening, housework or a gentle walk, combined with 30 minutes of puzzle-solving, on top of your usual daily activities, could help to ward off dementia.

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Archbishop of Canterbury: society can’t wait to get old people ‘off our hands’

British society is missing out on a massive contribution the elderly could play because too many people are simply waiting for them to die, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
In his last speech in the House of Lords before he steps down, Dr Rowan Williams said too many older people being were being “tolerated” rather than “valued”.

He said that the “extremes of human life” – childhood and old age – were both being sidelined because of an “eccentric idea” that only those in the so-called prime of life could make a contribution.

And he warned that the tendency to view older people as “dependents” or a “problem” was the root cause of neglect and abuse.

Dr Williams, who steps down at the end of this month, was speaking as he opened a debate in the Lords on how elderly people should be viewed as “participants” in society rather than “passengers”.

The 62-year-old said society was so “frenetically oriented towards youth” that it is missing out on the contribution older people can play.
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Older people ‘contribute £27bn to society’ through unpaid care, charitable and voluntary work

Older generations contributed almost £27 billion to society through unpaid care, charitable and voluntary work over the last year, a report has found.
Grandparents, parents and child at dinner table – Older people ‘contribute £27bn to society’
Two thirds of older people said they felt badly treated by politicians. A further 34pc said they were poorly portrayed by the media Photo: ALAMY

The value of such work increased by almost £2 billion in the last 12 months, according to MGM Advantage’s 2012 Retirement Nation report.

The report calls for a retirement minister to be appointed to represent older people “at the highest level” after research found that two thirds of them felt badly treated by politicians.

The report found that the older generation, meaning those approaching and in retirement, gave society each year an average of 75 hours in charitable work at a value of £5.7 billion, and 73 hours in voluntary community work with a value of £5.5 billion.

They also provide 326 hours in free care for grandchildren, parents and other family members, saving the family economy £15.5 billion in the last year.
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