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Complaints about communication of changes to women’s State Pension age

We have received complaints about the Department for Work and Pensions’ communication regarding changes to women’s State Pension age, first introduced by the Pensions Act 1995, and associated issues. 

Women say they have experienced financial loss and a negative impact on their health, emotional well-being or home life as a result.

When we reviewed the complaints brought to us about DWP and ICE we found that they shared similar issues. In October 2018, we issued a proposal to investigate a sample of complaints that reflect the issues raised. 

Subsequently, the High Court considered similar issues to our proposed investigation in a judicial review.

We considered the impact of the judicial review on our proposed investigation and reached the view that it is not practical or proportionate for us to investigate while similar and related issues are being considered by the court. 

The judicial review has now concluded. We are waiting for the High Court ruling and will then take time to consider it before deciding whether or how to investigate.

We will continue to accept complaints referred to us by MPs. However, we will take no further action on the complaints we have received or on any new complaints, either about DWP or ICE’s service, until there is a High Court ruling and we have considered the outcome of this.

We have information for MPs about our approach.


More information

Who is affected by the changes to State Pension age for women?

Women born after 6 April 1950 are affected by changes in state pension age introduced by the Pensions Act 1995 and further changes made in subsequent years. To see how you are affected visit the HMRC website.

How do I make a complaint? 

We can only look at complaints about UK government departments if a Member of Parliament (MP) refers the complaint to us. Read more about how to make a complaint about a government department.

DWP has suspended its complaints and ICE is no longer accepting complaints so I cannot complete the complaints process with them. What do I do? 

We can consider a complaint where the complaints process of the organisation complained about has been completed or isn’t available, for example, where ICE is not able to look at the complaint because of the court proceedings. We will continue to accept complaints referred to us by MPs. However, we will take no further action on the complaints we have received or on any new complaints, either about DWP or ICE’s service, until there is a High Court ruling and we have considered the outcome of this.    

Can I complain to you about ICE's service

Yes, we will continue to accept complaints referred to us by MPs. However, we will take no further action on the complaints we have received or on any new complaints, either about DWP or ICE’s service, until we have considered the High Court ruling.

Are the issues that the Court is looking at and the Ombudsman proposed to investigate the same? 

There is significant overlap between the issues we proposed to investigate and the issues the high court will consider. For example, women complained to us about maladministration in the way DWP communicated changes to State Pension age for women. One of the issues the high court is looking at is whether there was a failure to properly inform women of changes to state pension age.

Not all the issues we proposed to investigate will be considered as part of the judicial review. This includes the way DWP and ICE handled complaints, and the way changes to National Insurance were communicated.

We have carefully considered the impact of the judicial review on our proposed investigation. We have reached the view that it is not practical or proportionate for us to investigate while related and similar issues are being considered by the high court. Now that legal proceedings have concluded, we will wait for the High Court ruling and take time to consider it before deciding whether we can and should investigate.

The high court is not looking at maladministration so why can’t the Ombudsman investigate now?

The high court cannot make decisions about maladministration but it is looking at similar issues. We considered it likely that relevant evidence would become available during the court proceedings that would impact on any decisions we make about complaints relating to the changes of the State Pension age for women born in the 1950s.

We carefully considered the impact of the judicial review on our proposed investigation and reached the view that it is not practical or proportionate for us to investigate while related and similar issues were being considered by the high court. Now that legal proceedings have concluded, we will wait for the High Court ruling and take time to consider it before we decide whether or how to investigate.

Where can I find out more about the changes to State Pension age for women and the judicial review?

Parliament has updated its information on changes in the State Pension age for women born in the 1950s. This includes information about the judicial review. You can find out more on the Parliament.uk website.