The UK Government is being urged to "do the right thing" and set aside billions in compensation for women whose lives were "ruined" when they were not told in good enough time about the rise in the state pension age. It comes after millions of so-called Waspi women were told they could receive compensation and an apology over state pension changes.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) says women born between April 1950 and April 1960 are “owed” money because increases in the state pension age, from 60 to 66, were not communicated properly. The ombudsman's report has suggested compensation at level four, ranging between £1,000 and £2,950, could be appropriate for each of those affected. This is a lower range than the £10,000 figure – level six – previously suggested by the State Pension Inequality For Women All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

Some women were notified of the change to their pension age less than a year before they had been expecting to retire at 60 which left them without enough time to adjust their savings plans, the ombudsman found. The report also said the women affected should have received a letter informing them of the changes up to four years earlier than they did. If you are a woman born between April 1950 and April 1960 you can use this interactive to see when the ombudsman says you should have been notified of the changes to your pension.

It is nearly 10 years since the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign group – or Waspi for short – launched a campaign for compensation. The ombudsman report follows a five-year investigation into alleged failures at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Campaigners said it is time for supportive politicians to "put their money where their mouth is" with "a proper compensation package".

Waspi chairwoman Angela Madden said there are parallels with other scandals in recent years such as the Post Office and Windrush and said the government had caused "great harm to Waspi women". She told the PA news agency: "They've ruined our lives. It's worth a heck of a lot more than one or two grand."

The PHSO used a severity of injustice scale to determine a financial payment that it believes is appropriate and proportionate. The scale has six levels of payment and PHSO has recommended a level four payout of between £1,000 and £2,950 to recognise the “significant” and “lasting impact” suffered by many women. If the government agrees to this compensation level it could mean a total cost to the taxpayer of between £3.5bn and £10bn.

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But the DWP has argued that compensation at level three, below £1,000, would be “consistent” with previous payouts made to claimants. The government has not yet confirmed that any level of compensation will be paid to the affected women. Campaigners have demanded “a proper compensation package” with a payout set at level six, which is £10,000 or more.

Who are the Waspi women?

The Waspi campaign is a group leading the fight on behalf of millions of women affected by a change to the state pension that means men and women can claim it at the same age. The 1995 Pensions Act and subsequent legislation raised the state pension age for women born on or after April 6, 1950, from 60 to 65. The change was due to be phased in between 2010 and 2020 but was later sped up to be completed by 2018.

This hit women particularly hard because their increases happen both sooner than expected and in quick succession. Some 2.6m women got just five years’ notice of an extension to their pension age. This left them either forced to either work much longer than expected or to retire with no state pension for that period and with not enough time to build up savings that could bridge the gap.