The Daily Telegraph

Peo­ple ‘should get early ac­cess to state pen­sion’ dur­ing pan­demic

- By Jessica Beard and Sam Mead­ows Business · Society · Retirement · Infectious Diseases · Employment · Health Conditions · United Kingdom · Age UK · Steve Webb

THOSE near­ing re­tire­ment should be given early ac­cess to their state pen­sion dur­ing the pan­demic, a for­mer min­is­ter said, as re­tire­ment age in­creased to 66.

As of to­day, the state pen­sion age is at least 66 for work­ers af­ter the in­crease was phased in start­ing last year.

How­ever, Baroness Ros Alt­mann, a for­mer pen­sions min­is­ter, said that older peo­ple should be al­lowed to draw their re­tire­ment in­come early amid wors­en­ing em­ploy­ment prospects.

She said: “Al­low­ing early ac­cess, even at a re­duced rate, could of­fer a life­line to those who want to ben­e­fit from their many years of na­tional in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions, rather than the un­re­al­is­tic re­liance on out-of-work ben­e­fits.”

Char­ity Age UK said that those who are three years from re­tire­ment and have car­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or are likely to fall into long-term workless­ness should be granted early ac­cess.

Caro­line Abra­hams, its di­rec­tor, said: “The pan­demic has caused havoc in the labour mar­ket, and many work­ers ap­proach­ing the state pen­sion age may find it dif­fi­cult to get an­other job.”

Would-be re­tirees can cur­rently de­lay their state pen­sion in ex­change for higher pay­ments later on, and ex­perts said peo­ple should be able to with­draw early with lower pay­ments.

Sir Steve Webb, an­other for­mer pen­sions min­is­ter, said such a change would add com­plex­ity to the sys­tem.

The De­part­ment for Work and Pen­sions said al­low­ing early ac­cess on a re­duced ba­sis risked leav­ing peo­ple with an in­ad­e­quate pen­sion.

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