Just 18p a week

HeadLine: JUST 18p A WEEK

The Mirror, 19/06/2002, p5
by SHAUN MILNE

A WOMAN who paid £500-a-year National Insurance all her working life
has been told she’ll get a pension of just 18p a WEEK.
Ruth Philip, 59, almost burst into tears when her local benefits office
said her annual pension will be £9.36-a-year, instead of the £40-a-week
state pension that she had hoped for.
Her plight, she was told, is a direct result of the “small stamp”
option, which allowed married women to pay at a reduced rate.
But Mrs Philip, of Insch, near Aberdeen, she was never told what a
drastic effect it would have on her.
She said: “I am not greedy but what shall I spend my 18p a week on – a
holiday in Spain perhaps?
“I could have burst into tears when I read the letter. I feel so
helpless.
“It just seems disgusting when you have worked all your life and I’m
sure I’m not the only woman who’s going to find herself in this
situation. You feel someone should have told you to pay the larger
stamp.”
Until 1977 married women were entitled to pay the reduced rate.
But because Mrs Philip continued to pay the reduced rate, her basic
pension and state earnings related pension (SERPS) amounted to nothing.
Her MP, Lib Dem Malcolm Bruce, has taken up her case but he is not
hopeful of success.
And Nationalist MSP Brian Adam has called on the Government to
investigate if other forms of benefit are available.
He said: “Many ladies seem to have been ill-advised at the time and the
Government ought to look carefully at the situation.”
A Benefits Agency spokesman said: “Women who opted to pay the reduced
rate stamp did not make an uninformed choice.
“They gave written notice on a form clearly giving details of what the
decision might mean.”

**

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Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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