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MP briefing on complaints about communication of changes to women’s state pension age

Update on the handling of complaints about the communication of state pension age changes for women by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

We are now starting to investigate a sample of six complaints about the communication of changes to women’s state pension age. The six cases reflect the range of issues in the complaints sent to us. By law, we investigate in private so we will not be publishing information about the investigation while it is ongoing.

The High Court Judicial Review ruling

In October 2018, we issued a proposal to investigate a sample of complaints brought to us about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) regarding changes in Women’s state pension age. When the judicial review was announced, we found that it would consider similar issues to those we were proposing to investigate. We paused looking at these complaints while those issues were being considered by the court.

After carefully considering the High Court ruling, we revised our proposal to investigate. Our proposal reflects the High Court ruling that we cannot recommend reimbursing ‘lost’ pension or that anyone receives their pension earlier than the law allows.

The sample complainants are happy for us to proceed with our revised proposal to investigate.

What are the complaints about?

Women tell us that they have experienced financial loss and a negative impact on their health, emotional well-being and domestic situations as a result of poor communication of the changes to their state pension age and associated issues.

We have received a significant number of similar complaints about the same key issues since we first proposed to investigate. As we are currently proposing to investigate these key issues, we are not accepting any new complaints about them at present.

Please see our dedicated page on our website for more information.


Further information

PHSO makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments, and some other UK public organisations. We do this independently and impartially. We are not part of government, the NHS in England or a regulator. We are neither a consumer champion nor an advocacy service.

Members of the public can bring a complaint about the NHS to us directly. We can only consider cases relating to UK government departments and other public organisations if MPs refer these to us.

More information on our work, including how MPs can refer complaints to us about Government departments and agencies, is available on our website: https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint/information-mps

If you have further questions relating to the issues outlined here, please contact publicaffairs@ombudsman.org.uk