With the outbreak of COVID-19 we have seen challenges facing the entire country. We are increasingly concerned about the disproportionate impact the outbreak is having on 1950s-born women. We are hearing daily from members about the many different ways the crisis is affecting you. From women who are self-employed and worried about their income, to those going back to work on the frontline, and those who have lost or may lose their jobs. Lots of members have also shared with us the wider impacts of lockdown, for instance a loss of access to facilities like museums and libraries which used to provide electricity, heating, and access to computers. Many are concerned about the rising cost of food items and the impact of lockdown measures on their ability to prepare affordable and nutritious meals.
This all adds up to reports of poverty amongst those who were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic. WASPI women who are hardest hit have been unable to retire as planned, are now unable to work, and are struggling to make ends meet. As a result, we have taken the unprecedented step of calling for urgent measures from the Government to support the women who have been most badly affected. We are asking the Government to:
- Give WASPI women who would be otherwise eligible early access to Pension Credit
- Give WASPI women due to reach State Pension age this financial year early access to their State Pension
These two measures would give a vital source of income to WASPI women who are falling through the gaps. WASPI’s overall ask, which is fair transitional state pension arrangements for all WASPI women, remains the same. Our campaign will continue to work towards finding a solution for all women affected. We have always acknowledged that there will be small steps along the way to achieving our aim. In these exceptional circumstances we have taken the decision to campaign urgently for vital support specifically for those who have been impacted most severely.