spiked proposals: Pensioners
Stop treating over-65's as automatically dependent; scrap the fixed retirement age; and do more for the dependent elderly.
Three proposals for how governments could practically help the aged:
- Stop treating over-65s as automatically dependent.
Ageing is not an illness. State welfare policies should be directed at those in need. Because of the cultural legacies of what it means to be old, elderly individuals, not state institutions, should decide whether or not to take up welfare benefits.
There should be no fixed retirement age for private or public sector workers. The elderly should be able to continue or re-enter employment, or earn income in other ways, without losing their right to state benefits.
The government should extend its social policies for the elderly from the narrow issue of the level of the state pension, to providing appropriate support for those unable to look after themselves. The state should offer a comprehensive package of free sheltered housing, personal home-help services, nursing and/or residential care, health care and income support (a non-means-tested individual allowance of £150 a week indexed to average earnings). These benefits and services should be offered as of right to all over the age of 65, or earlier on the basis of medical recommendation. Individuals should be able to decline any or all of these benefits and services, at any time, without jeopardising their automatic right to take them up at a later date.
Phil Mullan is the author of The Imaginary Time Bomb: Why an Ageing Population Is Not a Social Problem, IB Tauris, 2000 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA))
Grey demands (What I want), by Dave Hallsworth
Going for grey, by Phil Mullan
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