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Minimum income standards and older pensioners' needs

Yvette Hartfree, Donald Hirsch and Liz Sutton

28 January 2013

Does the current Minimum Income Standard for pensioners meet the needs of a growing group of older pensioners?

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for pensioner households defines how much income pensioners need for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK today. It is based on the needs of hypothetical households – singles and couples – aged 72, without significant health problems.

But does the current MIS for pensioner households adequately meet the needs of a rapidly increasing population of older pensioners? An MIS based on a relatively healthy person in their early 70s may be of limited relevance to a pensioner a decade or so older.

This research:

  • explores whether different needs among older pensioners may alter significantly the income they need for an acceptable standard of living;
  • assesses life changes in later old age; and
  • identifies likely areas where needs may differ and remain the same.


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