….not for me before you all start cheering, but a victory which will hopefully add weight to my own battle against pension inequality.
As I wrote about here, the human rights organization Liberty may be interested in looking into the discrimination I am facing in respect of an income protection policy I’m claiming on. Everything was fine until 2011 when the Government changed the retirement age for women of my age from 60 to 67. I won’t now receive my state pension until I’m 67, yet my PHI policy (which forms the bulk of my income) still ends at 60 meaning I have a seven year gap with nothing but £100 a week state sickness benefit to live on.
If I were a man my current policy would have ended at 65 as back in 1992 men’s PHI policies ended later than women’s as this reflected the differences in retirement ages. If I were a healthy woman and not claiming on my policy I could simply switch to a new policy which reflects the new retirment age for women and my PHI would carry on until I was 65. So as a disabled woman I am the only section of society whose PHI still ends at 60, which is blatantly discriminatory.
You’d think I’d be covered by the Equality Act, which after all exists to ensure everyone is treated equally, but you’d be wrong. There is an exclusion in the Act which says that insurance policies are exempt from discrimination law. It’s scandalous and I’ve been trying to find someone, anyone, to take on the (massive and hugely wealthy) insurance industry on my behalf for years with no success until Liberty recently said they might be interested.
They have been fighting a pension discrimination case for a gay couple for the past five years. There was an exemption clause in the Equality Act which allowed same sex spouses to be treated differently to heterosexual spouses when it came to pension benefits, but this week the battle was won and gay people’s spouses are now entitled to the same pension rights as heterosexual couples. The fact that the High Court found an exemption in the Equality Act to be discriminatory has important implications for my own circumstance and next week I’m getting in touch with Liberty again to see if they’ve now made a firm decision to tackle my PHI case. I’ll let you all know how I get on!