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TPAS Newsletter - October 2011

Update! State Pension Age

The Government announced this month their revised plan for increasing State Pension Ages (SPAs) to 66.  The changes mean that the increase to 66 will be complete by October 2020, rather than April 2020.  These proposals are not yet law and require Parliamentary approval.

Under the new proposals:

  • Men born before 6 December 1953 retain their SPA of 65
  • Women born before 6 April 1950 retain their SPA of 60
  • Women born on or after 6 April 1950 but before 6 December 1953 will have an SPA between 60 and 65
  • Men and women born on or after 6 December 1953 but before 6 October 1954 will have an SPA between 65 and 66
  • Men and women born on or after 6 April 1954 but before 6 April 1968 will have an SPA of 66
  • Increases from 66 to 67 and then to 68 will affect men and women born on or after 6 April 1968 

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said: "we have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months. We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible."

Click here to visit the DWP's website and read their press release

Click here to visit our website and download the revised schedule of SPA changes

Default Retirement Age Scrapped

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees because of their age.  However, regulations allowed employers to set a default retirement age (i.e. force employees to stop work) at 65 or higher.  Employers could set a default retirement age below 65 but only if it was 'objectively justified'.

This default retirement age was scrapped from 1 October 2011.  Employers are now not able to compulsorily retire their employees unless the retirement can be 'objectively justified'.

Objectively justified allows an employer to set requirements that are discriminatory.  To be objectively justified, an action or rule must be a 'proportionate means' of achieving a 'legitimate aim'.  Factors an employer should take into account when deciding whether a practice or rule can be objectively justified may include:

  • Economic factors (such as business needs and efficiency);
  • The health, welfare and safety of an employee (including the protection of young people and older workers); and
  • The training requirements of the job.

Click here to read about the new rules in place from 1 October 2011

Significant CPI Rate Announced

The Basic State Pension (BSP) rises in April each year in-line with the rise in Consumer Price Index (CPI), as recorded in the previous September.  So, the rise to the BSP in April 2012 will be linked to the CPI rate in September 2011.

The CPI rate for September 2011 has this month been announced at 5.2%.  The full BSP from April 2012 is therefore likely to be in the region of £107.45.  The Government will announce the exact amount in due course.

Bankrupt Companies Must Give Priority To Pensions

The Court of Appeal has this month ruled that bankrupt companies must fill their pension gaps before paying other unsecured debts, upholding an earlier High Court ruling against the administrators for Lehman Brothers and Nortel Networks. The High Court had ruled that pension funds were an expense and must be paid before debts to administrators.

Click here to visit the Pensions Regulator's website and read more

Spotlight On...

We now have 11 factsheets.

  • paying voluntary national insurance contributions - the extended rules
  • changes to the Annual Allowance
  • how to test pension savings against the Annual Allowance
  • the Annual Allowance transitional rules for Defined Benefit schemes
  • the abolition of the requirement to set up pension benefits by age 75
  • the new flexible drawdown rules
  • the new income drawdown rules for individuals already using income drawdown
  • using a redundancy payment to pay into a pension
  • tax and lump sums paid on death - defined benefit schemes
  • tax and lump sums paid on death - defined contribution schemes
  • tax and lump sums paid on death - income drawdown plans

Click here to visit our publications page and view all the factsheets

Contact Us

If you have any pension questions, please feel free to contact us by calling our helpline on 0845 601 2923, emailing enquiries@pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk or writing to us at 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB.