Ill health or disability is causing one in eight individuals to leave work before they reach State Pension age, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has suggested.
A new report by the TUC revealed that nearly half a million individuals have had to leave work for medical reasons within five years before they were due to retire.
The report also found that, over the last 15 years, the number of older workers in the UK has increased by nearly three million to total 9.6 million.
Those in low paid employment or manual work are twice as likely to stop working before reaching State Pension age due to sickness and disability, the report suggested.
Commenting on the findings, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: ‘People should be able to retire in dignity with a decent pension when the time is right.
‘Older workers have a crucial role to play in the labour market but we can’t expect the sick to wait longer to get a pension when they may need financial support more than ever.’
In response, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions stated: ‘We regularly review the State Pension age to make sure the system is fair, sustainable and affordable for the taxpayer.
‘Our welfare system already provides a range of support for people of all ages who are unable to work due to illness or disability.’
A review of the State Pension age is currently being led by John Cridland, former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The findings from this review are due to be published in May of 2017.