Age as a condition of entitlement to social security: Changing ideas over thirty years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The editorial in the first issue of the Journal of Social Security Law noted the plan to equalise state retirement pension age for men and women at age 65 (now 66, moving soon to 67). The changes in pension age since 1993 have perhaps been the most noticed by the general public and the media but there have been other less headline hitting changes to benefit entitlement based on age in the last thirty years, including those which define entitlement to benefits for young people, changes to entitlements for lone parents based on their children’s ages and new age based conditionalities for older couples, where one has reached pension age and the other has not. Although these changes may appear to be technicalities, entitlement to benefits based on age criteria send important messages regarding who is, or is not, entitled to state support and under what other conditions. Chronological age also intersects with other characteristics such as gender, disability, ethnicity, social class and citizenship status, making the apparent clarity of age as a mechanism for defining eligibility more complex. Rules regarding age and social security both reflect and define societal attitudes as well as reflecting institutional conventions, based on the history of the welfare state. This article explores changes in the use of age as a lever of eligibility for social security in the UK over the last thirty years, using material from the Journal, legislative change and case law, as well as insights from the wider social sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-63
JournalJournal of Social Security Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • social security benefits
  • age
  • gender
  • young persons
  • older persons
  • entitlement
  • legal history
  • lone parents
  • pensionable age


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