ROSEMARY Dickson imagined a comfortable retirement spent with friends in cafes, with the help of a state pension she worked hard to pay into her entire working life. Instead, she has had to re-mortgage her home and cut back every way she can just to keep afloat.

The former NHS worker, 64, is one of millions of women in the UK hit with a double whammy of the cost-of-living crisis and a delayed state pension.

The Women Against State Pension Injustice (Waspi) organisation has criticised the way men and women’s pensions have been equalised. Women born between 1950-1955 were told that their pension age would be raised from 60 to 65. But many took objection to the speed of the change and the way it was handled.

Dickson, a former NHS technician who lives in Glasgow, told The National “there’s no more fat left to trim” as costs continue to rise.

READ MORE: 'I don't know how I can budget anymore': Scots mum hit hard by cost of living crisis

“I find it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet. I can’t work now that I have a bad back and various other health issues. I’m finding myself in this no man’s land while I’m waiting for my state pension to come in and I’m surviving on my occupational pension.”

The National: Rosemary Dickson has been hit by a double whammy of pension delays and a cost of living crisisRosemary Dickson has been hit by a double whammy of pension delays and a cost of living crisis

Dickson said she was one of the lucky ones as many elderly single women do not have an occupational pension, but that may prove not to be enough as inflation soars to the highest level in 30 years, putting those already struggling closer to the breadline.

She continued: “I’ve seen things go up so much that I’ve had to re-mortgage the house and go for a lifetime mortgage to tide me over until I get the state pension because things were just becoming unaffordable.

“It was an extremely tough decision and actually made me really depressed because I had worked all my life to pay for my flat.

“I very rarely go out, I don’t use my car anymore, I’m dependent on my bus pass. “

Despite the efforts to save money, Dickson said there are some things she can’t cut back on like bread or milk.

“I don’t know how young families are coping because it’s bad enough for me just on my own.

“I see women who are my age struggling who are too proud to admit that they are doing without.

“Eating or heating isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s the reality for millions of people. And it’s the loss of dignity. We paid, we didn’t evade. We have been paying our national insurance since 15 years of age.

READ MORE: The National wants to hear from those struggling with the cost of living

Carla O’Hara from the WaspiCampaign said: “There are nearly 350,000 women in Scotland in similar circumstances to Rosemary’s.

“For many women this lack of notice was catastrophic. Some had to sell their homes, others continued working in jobs they were no longer fit for or had to break their promises to look after grandchildren or elderly relatives.

"They are facing an uphill struggle in the current economic climate.

She added: “Many thousands of 1950s women have already died before reaching their new pension age. We need a fair and fast solution before more women die. We really can’t wait much longer.”