Revealed: Dramatic rise in benefit and disability claims from women born in the 1950s

Disclosure undermines ministry claim of no link between poverty and bad health and loss of state pension

DWP case undermined by new figures

Days after the Court of Appeal rejected the judicial review brought by the BackTo60 campaigners the House of Commons library produced a set of previously undisclosed figures showing huge leaps in the numbers of 50sborn women claiming universal credit[UC] or Jobseekers allowance[JSA] and employment and support allowance [ESA].

Claims for UC and JSA – which of course were non existent when the pension age was 60 – have gone up by an average of 382 per cent between 2013 and 2019. The figures are still relatively low (from 7582 to 36,531) but the trend is overwhelmingly upwards. It also excludes those who are battling on or using up savings rather than claim.

Claims for ESA – a difficult benefit to claim unless you are hospitalised and involving a 25 page questionnaire and work capacity assessment – have soared by 185 percent – to reach 205,385 -over the same six year period.

The figures are bound to be a huge underestimate as they take no account of the rule change that allowed people to claim the benefits if they had to stay at home because of Covid 19 this year. But they do allow a direct comparison during the period when the only big material change for this group of women was the loss of their state pension.

The disclosure of these figures -obviously not available at the time of the hearing – does undermine the forceful case made by Sir James Eadie, QC, who represented the Department of Work and Pensions, that any poverty or ill health suffered by these women could not be linked to the rise in the pension age to 66.

They also back up the argument made by Mr Mansfield who is quoted in the judgement:
” It is not uncommon for women born in the 1950s to have contracted various ailments and health problems by the time they reach their early 60s, because of the environment they lived in during their early years.  He said further that it is common for women in this age group to be living in straitened circumstances particularly if they are now single, with part time jobs at best and working for low pay. 

” It is also very common for them to be caring for elderly and infirm parents.  He argued that the lack of state pension means that they have to resort to makeshift measures to make ends meet, selling their houses, using up their savings and cutting back on any non-essential spending so that they are not in a position to enjoy their retirement years.”

But the judges concluded: ” there is no sufficient causal link here between the withdrawal of the state pension from women in the age group 60 to 65 and the disadvantage caused to that group. 

” The fact that poorer people are likely to experience a more serious adverse effect from the withdrawal of the pension and that groups who have historically been the victims of discrimination in the workplace are more likely to be poor does not make it indirectly discriminatory to apply the same criterion for eligibility to everyone, if that criterion is not more difficult for the group with the protected characteristic to satisfy.”

The figures also provide a useful constituency by constituency breakdown – showing an unequal distribution of the misery caused by ill health and failure to get as job depending on where you live. The guide would provide a very useful campaigning tool if people wish to lobby their MP over the bad treatment of 50s born women over their loss of pensions – as they can quote the figures back at their MP.

These are some of the top increases and the names of the MPs who were elected at the last election.

Unemployment biggest percentage constituency rises

Knowsley 1388 pc rise from 8 to 119 George Howarth ( Lab)

Newcastle North 1347 pc rise from 6 to 88 Catherine McKinnell (Lab)

Morecombe and Lunesdale 1300 pc rise from 6 to 84 David Morris (Con)

Birmingham Yardley 1270 pc rise from 10 to 137 Jess Phillips (Lab)

Wells 1220 per cent rise from 5 to 66 James Heappey (Con)

Disabled and ESA biggest constituency percentage rises

Glasgow North East 315 pc rise from 214 to 889 Anne McLaughlin (SNP)

NE Hampshire 300 pc rise from 32 to 128 Ranil Jayawardena (Con)

Linlithgow and East Falkirk 292pc rise 149 to 584 Martyn Day (SNP)

Brecon and Radnorshire 292 pc rise from 77 to 302 Fay Jones (Con)

Leeds NE 291pc rise from 89 to348 Fabian Hamilton (Lab)

Glasgow SW 287pc rise from 205 to 794 Chris Stephens (SNP)

Interestingly Martyn Day is the one MP who challenged Boris Johnson about the court judgement at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

The full report is available here. You need to download the table on working age benefits 2020 to get all the info on the big increases in payments. There is also an up to date breakdown of the numbers of 50sborn women living in individual constituencies.

So again we yet have another disclosure backing up the case for the 50swomen to get their pensions.

29 thoughts on “Revealed: Dramatic rise in benefit and disability claims from women born in the 1950s

  1. Having read your report David, I have to say that I was more shocked by the fact that it appears our side sought to make a case regarding increased hardship for 50s born women as a result of pension denial, but appear to not have asked for statistics from government that would have contributed to evidencing the case being made. Or, am I missing something, please? Thanks again for keeping us updated. This continues to be much appreciated. Best wishes.


  2. Pingback: Revealed: Dramatic rise in benefit and disability claims from women born in the 1950s – Haomanitylife

  3. i wonder, is this newly revealed information enough to force another appeal/ court date? as pointless as it is…..but I also have to suspect that the scale of the problem is still a lot larger than suggested as it does include those of us who do not ‘officially exist’….you can’t claim if you don’t have papers…and I surely can’t be the only one in this situation but I suspect most of them are dead already…..


  4. Good morning David and thank you for another article exposing the figures.

    I’m struggling a little bit though with the conclusions. Looking through the figures, they are much the same for men and women claiming benefits from age 60. This seems to tell us that illness is prevalent in that age group in more or less equal terms.

    Naturally there has been a much larger increase in women receiving the working age benefits than men as pre 2010 the women would have been receiving their state pension whereas men would not have been. From 2010 onwards women would now be in receipt of those working age benefits as their SPA rose. Now of course from November 2018 both men and women have the same SPA and their figures are pretty much the same.

    So is the conclusion that women became ill because they didn’t get their state pension at age 60 or would they still have been ill even with their state pension but just wouldn’t have been on the figures for working age benefits?

    I’m struggling to see how we can conclude that it’s simply down to not receiving the state pension, especially in the case of ESA which, as you say, is more serious.


    • Thanks for your comment. It is very difficult to gauge whether they would have got ill anyway – even if it is in line with men. But from the comments I get on my site – it does appear that many are under enormous stress with coping without a pension and there must be a hidden number who don’t want to claim but run down their savings, sell their homes and end up feeling very ill. And even those who do claim are put under stress -particularly with UC as they are expected to find a job.


      • Thanks for your reply David. Yes all good reasons and I’m sure some are under stress but very difficult to put an actual figure on it. I think it’s pretty certain that many would have become ill anyway as they get older. There will also have been some who were already on long term disability benefits and for whom having a state pension made no difference apart from removing them from the figures.

        However would you not agree from the numbers of men that are also having to claim benefits from age 60, that they are also under strain? Previously they had the fallback of Pension Credit at women’s SPA which would have been a great deal of help for them up till their own SPA of 65 and now higher. They no longer have that yet there is no call for them to be given help in the same way as 50s’ women. It would be just as big an injustice if these men were ignored whilst a woman of the same age gets “full restitution”. There are many men, some of which are my friends, in a worse situation than many 50s’ women.


      • Men are also going to suffer as the pension age continues to rise – particularly if they work in manual occupations or have to be fit to do their job properly. One solution now being explored in some European countries is to offer people like this an earlier retirement date but that does come with a slightly reduced pension. Denmark is planning to do this.


  5. Why wasn’t this information available at the court hearing to us. This absolutely stinks. What else are these evil sods hiding. I am so angry. Michael Mansfield should demand all information that they hold regarding the 50’s women. This is nothing short of a massive cover up. Keep at this David.


  6. David bless your heart for all the effort and commitment you put into this fight, I consider myself one of the lucky ones but at nearly 65 I am on my knees working full time in a secondary school. I am most sad because the country that I grew up in has turned out to be so uncaring and corrupt. Take care x


  7. Revelatory journalism again David! First, thanks for compiling this information – painfully obvious to women involved – now proven beyond a doubt.
    Second – Eadie again shown for obfuscatory ill-founded lies about disconnect between no pension & poverty.
    Third – only 1 challenge to Johnson over appeal decision – or derision should that read? SHAME ON PARLIAMENT. LibDems wanted £15k per woman affected, Labour’s manifesto had specific pledges, even Johnson promised to ‘sort it’ once in power. And now? I man – 1 man out of 650 MPs questioning this appalling theft of State Pension entitlements for 3.8m women & noone questioning NIC freebies for 10m men, extra State pension as well for life nor the lies the DWP published pre and post the July Backto60 appeal doubling the numbers of men who gained from Autocredits. Already twice the number of men had ALL these extras when UK Govts were denying 3.8m women – less than half the men – their proper legal entitlement to State Pensions. How many times have I read the 50’s born case has been fully discussed in Parliament? If it had been “fully discussed” why weren’t autocredit numbers examined? Why did no MP state the inequality? Why didn’t MPs say how many women were claiming nominal benefits because of poverty in their particular constituency? Why? Because they couldn’t care less. Except 1 MP.


  8. I have applied to Freedom of Information to request where my National Insurance payments have been invested for the last 48 years., I left school at 15 years old and now 65! Paid nearly 48 years payments but the cut off is 35 years, why don’t your receive an enhanced pension? I also want to know why some of the European countries receive their state pension at 60 years old or younger. Hungary has a fairer system. Once you have paid 40 years’ contributions they receive their state pension. This seems a better system so it doesn’t discriminate. So many Southern and Eastern European countries are poorer than the UK, but find the money for their people to retire in their early 60s or younger.


  9. If only government realise give us back 60 retirement and all our jobs are there for the next generation. But there again all the lazy so and so that as never worked get everything and the dole doesn’t bother them . My husband was on incapacity but to a nice lady in the dole office cancelled his incapacity so he lost it and had to sign on when he was there he asked why he was getting more hassle than the younger ones in there her response was you have proved you have worked they just don’t want it so we just leave them bloody disgusting


  10. I just want to know why I am not able to claim the New State Pension in the region.of £175 a week (after waiting an extra 3 years until I was 63 ) instead having to claim the Old lower rate of approx £135 a .week This is because I was 1952 and retired just before April 6th 2016 even though I had my full contributions 30 plus years …BUT Men born in 1952 the same year as me are able to claim the New State Pension ..yes ! these Men I started school ,sat my 11plus with and started work with .. I feel I have been victimised and not been treated fairly
    Rant Over …sorry


    • Gosh, i couldn’t live on 175 a week pension even if i could ‘live’…..after rent, council tax…..what do you actually have to live on? 😦


  11. I’m sixty four on universel credit, single and struggling, I’ve paid tax and insurance and worked since I was 15,i think they should do the right thing by us and give us the pensions that we have rightly earned at 60.


  12. It’s a disgrace. Another issue is when women have paid all their working life into a pension thinking their retirement age is 60 then find themselves redundant and put on JSA at nearly 60 and then having your small private pension you paid in for taken off the meagre JSA weekly payment. I am unable to find work due to problems after hip operation so not only losing pension for 6 years but having your small private pension taken off that weekly JSA payment. Therefore leaving women in this situation in a dire predicament not only has government took 6 years of pension at approx £160 per week that was paid in for but also the cheek to take any private pension they paid into out of JSA payments leaving them on approx £100 per week half of what they paid into. How much do MPs get in daily allowance for turning up to Parliament not including their wage or allowances. For the record my sister worked from 18 to nearly 60 years of age only taking a couple of years off to bring children up. MPs you should hang your heads in shame you did not initially give those women affected in the early years enough time to plan my sister had plans for her private pension but you took those off her to to make up her £100 per week to pay everything her Bill’s, food,clothing, heating etc could MPs do it NO they couldnt shame, shame, shame on you.


  13. Thank you Westminster Confidential for the update. Are you sending this info to twitter? I can’t find a way to share this with twitter… FPender
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


    • I’m at a total loss and all the comments make me so angry that we have had to lay bare all our personal journeys.
      I’ve just read the latest on ‘Whitehall Workers’ my God. Their salaries are immoral. No one is worth that! Civil servants £275,000 plus £180,000 bonus. Bet their pension pot is overflowing. Apparently it is because they deal with complex issues. We are all equal and provide a link in the chain of life. Whatever our job.
      I’m done with all this crap. It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Amen


  14. They sit in there own little bubble they haven’t s clue what goes on in the real world so sad to read some of these ladies story’s if the women of the 50s are claiming benefits them the government are still paying them out so give them there pensions let the younger one do there job it makes sense at this rate with job losses no body will be working got a lot to answer for this government has


  15. Perhaps there should be more kick back generally against the rise in the pension age, for both sexes and all ages – aren’t they heading for 75 now? If the younger ones could be more aware of this, we could all fight together. I know that women have suffered a lot of discrimination etc, and that men generally have higher occupational pensions – but not all men do. Perhaps if the fight was widened we could make this government listen. Hasn’t the French government caved in to some degree? Let the older ones leave while they still have a few years left, and free up the jobs for the younger ones.


  16. Stealing our hard earned money and putting it into the hands of banks who gave already cheated us is guaranteed to get unfair decriminat ion when we try to borrow.
    Firstly our age does not guarantee us a job.We are too old to win the youth process. Yes they want experience but we are far gone and will have to retrain.
    Majority of us are without a husband elderly with a pension that we can fall back on until whenever ours materialise in our 80s probably.
    The real issues are the increases given to universal credit.
    I wonder if those whom really benefited in signing away the woman’s rights to pensions can honestly say they don’t feel a pang of regret.
    If so the reason is because they have never had to push out a child. Take a lower pay because of being female.
    They never had to stop work and go home to mind their sick child.They didn’t have to work twice as hard to stay in their job.They were never descriminated against for the basic fact of being born female.
    When returning back to work after giving birth they never had to pay for childcare. This alone took away from their pay. Just to remain in work.
    Childcare took away a majority of the money that could have assisted more education and an improvement in job status.
    Woman with children are more likely to be turned down for promotion. We have to compete in this a male climate.

    Elderly parents are our next concern. Who will assist these old folks when you don’t provide the pension for the pensioned children?. You send them back into the already stressed work space where required new age jobs are available.

    These folks have done all that was required now you want to steal their hard earned pension and give it away. Many have committed suicide, but that statistic is not available.
    They are too old to go into prostution. These are desperate times that calls for desperate measures. Your government words are unreliable.

    The government displays sheer arrogance and disregard for the less fortunate in our societytotal disrespect to its elderly population.
    Our votes should prove tyhe deciding factor in if they win or lose.
    This is seen by the amount that was taken out of the general public hospital and put into private hospital sectors to die like sheep’s to the slaughter during coronavirus.
    2020 is the final nail in the coffin for the CONSERVATIVE PARTY.

    You cannor take career of the more vulnerable people in your society. On occasion you feed us small talk and then give away our hard on taxes to businessestablish that are already on the brink oof bankruptcy. .
    The country belong to the majority. Not the minority. GREED and gluttony as been displayed to all and sundary since this CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC.
    BEAURACRACY is the agenda. These big words are dished out for this who can’t quite understand what they are losing.



  17. Thankyou David for all the hard work on behalf of 1950s women . I will soon be 64 and still working. I am fortunate that I can work only part time as I get a mineworkers pension from my late husband. I feel so sorry for those women who are forced to work full time to make ends meet. As I get older in my job it is quite physical and I get quite exhausted. The thought of losing my job in these uncertain times is quite scary, especially having to claim benefits and forced to look for another job. Employers would prefer younger people rather than my age group so I know for a fact I would not get another job at my age. Keep up the hard work and thanks again.


  18. Hi, just a small thought in answer to the ratio of women who have become sick or ill since being denied their pension at sixty, and the trying to apply the same logic to men. In a poor household it’s unlikely that the man would have gone without food so that the children were fed, and he certainly would have had a better meal than the woman. I say this from experience, my dad would get the lion share as he worked on the farm, and mum would go without also when I had a young family my then partner always ate well and the children. While I would have toast or maybe a baked potato, nothing else. Maybe this has contributed to women’s poor health? By the way both my mum and I had more than 3 or 4 little jobs, cleaning or picking fruit but for small wages so physical work with not much sustainence


    • To add, also women ran the home, did the shopping, did the cleaning, did the washing, made the beds, etc etc as well as working and eating poorly! My dad came home and read the newspaper, waited for dinner, etc……


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