The Daily Telegraph
People ‘should get early access to state pension’ during pandemic
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.