A report questioned whether free travel passes were intergenerationally fair. Increasing numbers of people claiming free passes were not using them for leisure travel, as intended, but were instead commuting to work for free.
Source: Jeremy Leach, Fare Concessions for Older People: Identifying the numbers, Intergenerational Foundation
An article examined how changes in the distribution of pre-retirement labour earnings affected post-retirement income. The distribution of labour earnings before retirement played a 'considerable role' in the pension distribution of retirees, particularly for low and medium incomes. The existing system of public and private pension schemes had not substantially improved pension income dispersion among women: on the other hand, changes in labour earning distributions had benefited more poor female pensioners than male ones.
Source: Roberta Adami, Orla Gough, and Angeliki Theophilopoulou, 'The effect of labour earnings on post retirement income', Journal of Economic Studies, Volume 40 Issue 3
Two linked reports examined material deprivation among older people. The authors said that their findings confirmed the need for a broader poverty measure that looked beyond low income. Low income did not automatically result in a pensioner living in material deprivation, because some managed well on a low income. On the other hand, pensioners who had an income above the low-income threshold might still experience material deprivation due to higher living costs.
Source: Mehul Kotecha, Sue Arthur, and Steven Coutinho, Understanding the Relationship between Pensioner Poverty and Material Deprivation, Research Report 827, Department for Work and Pensions | Anna Bartlett, Claire Frew, and Joanne Gilroy, Understanding Material Deprivation among Older People, In-House Research 14, Department for Work and Pensions
A think-tank report (edited by a former minister in the coalition government) called for the winter fuel payment to be taken away from most pensioners, and for the money saved to be used to pay for a cap on long-term care costs.
Source: Paul Burstow (ed.), Delivering Dilnot: Paying for elderly care, CentreForum
An article examined the targeting of attendance allowance (an extra-cost disability benefit for older people). Uptake was found to be highly responsive to the onset of disability. Timely receipt of the allowance reduced disabled older people's financial strain.
Source: Francesca Zantomio, 'Older people's participation in extra-cost disability benefits', Journal of Health Economics, Volume 32 Issue 1
A new book examined later-life poverty across the 25 member states of the European Union. It analyzed the poverty risks faced by older people, and discussed how such risks ought to be measured.
Source: Asghar Zaidi (ed.), Poverty among Older People and Pensions Policy in the EU, Ashgate Publications
A study examined whether different needs among older pensioners might alter significantly the income that they needed for an acceptable standard of living. It was found that older pensioners did not have fewer needs compared with younger pensioners. When discussing a minimum acceptable standard of living, older pensioners did not need less and there was no evidence that they had lower expectations, or that there were systematic economies from life being less 'full'.
Source: Yvette Hartfree, Donald Hirsch, and Liz Sutton, Minimum Income Standards and Older Pensioners Needs, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report (by an official advisory body) made a range of recommendations designed to make tax simpler for pensioners. It proposed simplifying the married couple's allowance to remove the existing income abatement system and streamlining administrative aspects, replacing it with a flat-rate payment for those still eligible. It also said the 10 per cent savings rate was both complex and ineffective, with low awareness and take up: it would be much simpler and more effective to abolish the 10 per cent rate and use the money saved to improve other incentives.
Source: Review of Pensioners' Taxation: Final Report, Office of Tax Simplification