From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

  • pensionsandsavings.com

    Digital Discrimination leaves millions of older people at risk

    Digital Discrimination leaves millions of older people at risk

    • AgeUK finds Government guilty of digital age discrimination leaving millions of older people at risk of poverty.
    • Elderly citizens denied benefit entitlements because they can’t cope online need special help.
    • Be proud that Britain is leading many technological advances, but this risks older generations being increasingly marginalised by society.

    3.8million older people in Britain today have never used the internet: Many of us are so used to online connections that we are in danger of forgetting how fast the technological developments have been.

    Latest AgeUK research is a stark reminder that many older people face damaging discrimination: Government must make sure that those who have been left behind by online advances are not marginalised or unfairly penalised just because they grew up in an earlier age.

    Government itself is digitally discriminating against older people in poverty: Most worryingly, AgeUK finds local Governments are denying benefits to those who have never learned to use computers leaving many of them in poverty.

    Many elderly people cannot reasonably be expected to master online transactions at this stage of their lives: Having never learned to handle technology, often living alone and with a disability, they cannot complete online application forms and may never be able to claim. Yet receipt of Housing and Council Tax benefits can be a lifeline if they are struggling to make ends meet.

    Many may live for another 20 or more years: This means proper and fair arrangements for claiming non-digitally – by post, on the phone or face to face – are urgently needed to allow them to receive their entitlements now and for the future.

    Many elderly people have nobody to help them fill in online forms, or are too proud or embarrassed to ask for help: So they go without. Of course, Britain needs to be a modern technologically advanced society, but not at the expense of older generations.

    Digital discrimination against older people extends well beyond local Government: In addition to being unable to claim benefits, millions of older people lose out in other ways, such as being denied the best interest rates on savings accounts, or being unable to shop around for more competitive insurance quotes available online.

    Older people deserve to be treated with more respect and dignity, making some allowances for their life chances: Neither businesses, nor Government itself, should be allowed to take unfair advantage of older people’s lack of modern technology skills. Digital disadvantage is another form of age discrimination and a decent society should ensure its senior citizens are not marginalised or taken unfair advantage of in this way.

    2 thoughts on “Digital Discrimination leaves millions of older people at risk

    1. All the above it totally true Ros e.g. My mother is 90 this year and has never ever touched technology full-stop! She just about manages the whole-in-the-wall to withdraw her regular cash out. Fortunately all other transactions through the bank are DD,s.
      My mum is lucky as I have trained her well as a former IFA. But what about all those less fortunate who do not have this type of help.
      “Shame on You” local government departments “AND!” not forgetting HMR&C who are also guilty of exactly the same problem.

    2. And now I discover that my eldery mother’s doctor’s surgery has gone digital for repeat prescriptions. Up to last week, she could ring the pharmacy and they would dispense and deliver next day. Now she has been told that she must do it on line and if she can’t, well, get a friend or family to do it. Friends are all in the same circumstances or have family close by. Mum doesn’t.
      Same thing happened with her blue badge.

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