A retired NHS nurse has spoken about the stressful experience of struggling to cover her bills while she waits to qualify for the state pension.
Jacqueline Wilcock, 65, retired from full-time work when she was 58, after working for 29 years in the NHS.
She lives on an NHS pension – which health workers have the option of drawing out from the age of 50 – and income from her part-time job, but she still struggles to get by, reports inews.
Ms Wilcock described how life has been “a real struggle” as she has used up all her savings and now has to cover her regular bills by credit card.
The former healthcare worker has also been forced to move on to an interest-only mortgage and she now believes she will never own her home.
While working full-time as a nurse, she worked 20 hours a week on daytime hours and 13 hours in the evening, earning £10.50 an hour or £346.50 a week.
She said the job was “physical and high pressured”and “very demanding”, and she dropped to 20 hours a week a few years ago as her knees were hurting from kneeling down a lot.
She retired from the NHS entirely earlier this year as she and her team were becoming “overloaded” with increasing demands for more work.
She now works at a wholesale haberdashery store, still earning £10.50 an hour and working 10 hours a week.
She also runs craft stalls to increase her income and she says without this she would not be able to get by.
Ms Wilcock said: “I took my NHS pension when I retired but it was only £257 a month, so certainly not enough to live on.
“When I was 56, I received a letter to say that the age to claim my state pension had moved to 66 which worried me greatly as I was already finding work tiring by this point.”
She took a lump sum from her NHS pension but has now completely used up the funds. She said she feels “resentful” she does not qualify for any benefits or cost of living payments.
Fortunately, she is just weeks away from when she turns 66 and so will qualify for her state pension.
She said she believes Britons should be allowed to access their pensions at an earlier age as although she is fit and healthy, there is “no way” she could have carried on with full-time work.
Ms Wilcock will receive the new state pension – the full new state pension is currently £203.85 a week.
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