As the United Kingdom debates a bill that would equalize a women's pension age with men's at 65 by 2018 then start to rise to 66 along with men's in 2018, one academic is pushing the argument that the government scrap the pension age altogether and instead base entitlement on the number of years someone has worked.
Sarah Harper, Professor of Gerontology at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing, and one of the authors of "Living Long and Prospering?" told a BBC interviewer that the pension age would not reflect the discrepancies in individuals' life expectancy, and it would be fairer to move the pensions system away from age and instead relate it to the number of years worked.
As an example, she compared a low-income male, with an unhealthy lifestyle who retired at 65 in ill health, who could expect to live another 12 years, with a high income male, who was a manager and professional who could easily reach his late 80s--an 11-year difference. If there were a 45-year work requirement, their years of collecting a state pension might be very similar.
Harper did note, however, that even under her proposal, provision would have to be made for some groups of people who had been outside the workforce.
Source: BBC "Scrap pension age, academic says" (June 20, 2011)