Lorraine Paterson has been working from the age of 13 – and yet the 63-year-old from Mintlaw now finds herself existing on £50 a week.
As a member of the Banff and Buchan WASPI Group, Mrs Paterson has formally complained to the Department of Work and Pensions about her treatment after paying national insurance since the age of 16.
She believes she has suffered a financial loss of more than £50,000, and she and her family have been burdened with stress, anxiety and uncertainty, because of the pension changes.
And she told the Press and Journal: “I have been independent all my life and now I find myself in a situation where I am reliant on my partner. This has affected every aspect of my life.”
Mrs Paterson has continually combined full-time employment with raising a family and continued to study until 2008 when she completed a first-class Honours degree in social work at Robert Gordon University.
But she said the news about the loss of her pension and its effect on her health had been significant in the last five years.
She added: “I’ve always been determined not to rely on the state for financial support and, on the whole, I have succeeded.
“I consider myself to have been very lucky. I met and married my partner later in life and I have been very healthy throughout most of my life, which I consider to be a blessing.
“However, just when I thought I could prepare for retirement at 60, I was suddenly faced with the information this would not happen until my mid-60s. After all that work, I felt cheated, distraught and emotionally ill.
“I have spent my life looking after other people and now this has happened. Finally, in August 2017, I felt I had no choice but to take early retirement.
“But this also came with challenges because of the government’s policy on women’s retirement age. Effectively, I am now existing on a private pension of £50 a week.
“I have been a responsible, independent, hard-working, honest person all my life, have not relied on the government for benefits or support, and this is the thanks I get.”
Mrs Paterson believes the DWP is guilty of maladministration in the way the pension changes were introduced.
As she added: “This was publicly exposed on the government website itself, which still had 60 as the retirement age for women as recently as February, 2016.”