Laws increasing the retirement age to 68 were published by the Government as pension reforms moved a step closer yesterday.
The state pension age for both men and women will increase gradually to the new level by 2046.
The Pensions Bill will also link state pensions to earnings, and make it easier for women to claim full pensions if they take time out of their career to raise children.
But the reforms will do little to help existing pensioners, pressure groups included Help the Aged claimed.
Ministers said the changes would create a fairer and affordable pensions system which reflected the fact that people lived longer.
The Bill follows the publication of a report by Lord Turner's Pension Commission last year, which recommended raising the retirement age.
The state pension age will rise to 66 around 2025, to 67 around 2035 and to 68 around 2045.
There will be an increase in the amount paid when the link with earnings is expected to be restored in 2015.
The Bill will also cut the number of years it takes to build a full basic state pension to 30 years for everyone.
At the moment, men have to work for 44 years and women 39 years to build a full basic state pension.
And years spent caring for children as a mother will count towards a pension in the same way as employment.
According to the Government, the reforms will raise the average state pension for women from #77 a week to #130.
Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton hailed the Bill as "probably the most radical and far-reaching set of reforms of our pension system since the Attlee Labour Government in the 1940s legislated to bring in the modern welfare state we have today".
He added: "The Bill will put into legislation the foundations, I believe, for a long-term, sustainable pensions system – certainly a simpler and more generous state pension, which I think is absolutely fundamental."
But Mervyn Kohler, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said: "The Government’s proposals are long-term measures which will do precious little for the many pensioners who are already surviving at the margins."
Age Concern director-general Gordon Lishman said: "This Bill is very good news for future pensioners but short-changes today’s."
Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman David Laws said: "This Bill does nothing to help today’s pensioners, who are struggling to make ends meet. They may end up waiting until 2015 before the earnings link is restored."
Conservatives attacked the continued emphasis on means testing, with pensioners being forced to declare details of their savings and financial arrangements.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Philip Hammond said: "Half of all pensioners will still be subjected to means-testing. We have serious concerns about this level of means-testing and the impact this will have on savings behaviour."
He also criticised the decision to allow many existing public sector workers to retire at 60.
"The Government is allowing apartheid."
Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, welcomed the proposals, saying: "The unpaid contribution to society made by millions of parents and carers will finally be recognised."