The state pension age is currently 66, but in recent history it was set at 60 for women and 65 for men, which then underwent a change of age parity and then uprating. Many people are still frustrated at the alteration, particularly those who argue they were not given enough notice on the change. As a result, some believe the age should be lowered once again, citing a number of reasons as to why Britons should be able to retire earlier.
“I’m 64, for instance, but I don’t feel like I’m old, and I’m sure many people of my age feel exactly the same way.
“But I saw an article the other day which described ‘an elderly woman’ and she was only 62! I was totally taken aback, and I thought ‘What?’. That is shocking.
“We’re not old. We’re not elderly. We really do have a lot to give to the workforce.”
However, for Ms Cassidy, reported experiences of ageism only provide further reason as to why the state pension age, in her opinion, should be lowered.
She explained: “With all that being said, although we do have a wealth of experience to draw upon as well as a wealth of knowledge, we should be given a choice about retirement – for this reason, too.
“People need to be given the opportunity to retire from 60. It’s about having the choice and the availability to make that decision for yourself.
“Many people can retire early, but obviously you can’t get your state pension until you hit that eligible age, and of course that is increasing.
Ms Cassidy also made reference to a recent petition which suggested the ability for Britons to retire early, but to receive a limited state pension.
At present, it has only gained 576 signatures and so has not reached the 10,000 needed for a Government response on the matter.
However, this may not be a suitable solution in Ms Cassidy’s eyes, as it could raise additional issues.
She continued: “Some people suggest a lowered state pension age with the ability to take smaller payments, but to my mind, you’d still probably have to rely upon the benefits system to support you, to top up your benefits. It really depends on the financial circumstances of the people involved, so it can get complicated.
“But I think if you have worked all these years, you have made all of these contributions, you should just reach a point where you can go. This should be the case without any financial comeback.
“But my big feeling is that no matter how much we shout and scream about it, it’s just going to happen. It is very disappointing.”
The DWP told Express.co.uk: “Older workers are a huge asset to companies and there are currently almost nine million workers aged over 50 on employer payrolls – an increase of more than a quarter of a million compared to a year ago.
“Our recently expanded Plan for Jobs is helping hundreds of thousands of older workers to retrain, build new skills and get back into work, including through our 50 Plus: Choices offer, the Sector-Based Work Academy Programme, and our Job Entry Targeted Support scheme.”
Previously, the Department for Work and Pensions also said: “The Government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. Raising state pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”