State pension age to increase after review by DWP

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The State Pension is 66 for men and women across the UK – but it is set to increase

The State pension age is set to increase after a review is carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions. The benefit is regularly reviewed to ensure the pension age is affordable for the government and remains fair given that life expectancy is higher than it was generations ago.

The State Pension is currently 66 for men and women across the UK. But this age threshold will start to increase from May 2026. Proposals put forward involve increasing the age to 68 earlier than planned.

Instead of the currently scheduled timeline of between 2044 and 2046, it would instead change between 2037 and 2039.

The DWP has explained that life expectancy is the reason for the review as “when the State Pension was introduced in 1948, a 65-year-old could expect to spend 13.5 years receiving the benefit, around 23 per cent of their adult life”, the Daily Record reports.

But it is now estimated that a 65-year-old can expect to live for another 22.8 years, or 33.6 per cent of their adult life in retirement. Projections from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people over State Pension age in the UK is expected to grow by a third to 16.9 million in 2042.

A second review will consider whether the rules around pensionable age are appropriate, based on the latest life expectancy data and other evidence. State Pension age is now 66 and two further increases are currently set out in legislation.

These are:

  • a gradual rise to 67 for those born on or after April 5, 1960
  • a gradual rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046 for those born on or after April 5, 1977

The first State Pension age review was undertaken in 2017 and concluded that the next review should consider whether the increase to age 68 should be brought forward to 2037-39 before tabling any changes to legislation.

The DWP said: “As the number of people over State Pension age increases, due to a growing population and people on average living longer, the government needs to make sure that decisions on how to manage its costs are robust, fair and transparent for taxpayers now and in the future.

“It must also ensure that as the population becomes older, the State Pension continues to provide the foundation for retirement planning and financial security.”

What will the State Pension age review consider?

The review will consider a wide range of evidence, including:

  • Examining the implications of the latest life expectancy data
  • Providing a balanced assessment of the costs of an ageing population and future State Pension expenditure
  • Consider labour market changes and people’s ability and opportunities to work over State Pension age
  • Developing options for setting the legislative timetable for State Pension age that are transparent and fair

The Pensions Act 2014 requires the UK Government to regularly review State Pension age, and in accordance with law. This latest review must be published by May 7, 2023.

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