In an increasingly digital world, those who do not use digital technology can feel they
are being left behind. Age UK have produced a report into the way that older people are being disadvantaged by not being able to access the internet.
Here’s their introduction to the report:
We regularly hear from older people who are told that they should be doing things online and who find that because they do not use the internet they can miss out on the best prices, have to wait longer for responses, and have less choice.
Of even greater concern is when pressure to access public services online makes it harder to claim vital support, or may put people off applying in the first place.
We carried out a mystery shopping exercise, ringing 100 randomly picked local councils in England, to ask what options people have if they want to claim help with their rent and council tax but do not use the internet. Experiences varied but around two-fifths (41 per cent) of councils told us that claims have to be made online, or by downloading a form from their website, and others strongly encouraged online claims.
Many older people are reluctant to claim the financial support which they are due and any pressure to claim online is likely to be an additional barrier. Local councils and other providers must make sure their services are equally accessible to all and not consign those who do not use the internet to second class services.