THE UK GOVERNMENT has shown it's at the forefront of modern technology and online services with its latest form for claiming benefits online.
Those who want to claim either Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Overseas State Pension can simply visit the Gov.UK website, where they are then pointed to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) website to fill out a form online.
So far, so impressive, in that the government is allowing citizens to apply for benefits over the web, rather than having to fill out forms and send them in via the post or visit offices in person.
However, it seems that many of those claimants could fall at the first hurdle due to some rather outdated stipluations about the computer systems supported by the DWP.
"This service doesn't work with some modern browsers and operating systems," the DWP notes. "We are considering how best to provide this service in future. You may want to claim in another way."
That is putting it mildly. Normally, we'd take the time to go through these system requirements and highlight only the most interesting points, but in this case we've decided to make an exception and post them here in their full glory, as we couldn't word them better than the DWP.
"The service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems even though you may be able to input information.
"You are likely to have problems if you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Windows Vista or a smartphone. Clearing temporary internet files may help but you may wish to claim in another way.
"There is also a high risk that if you use browsers not listed below, including Chrome, Safari or Firefox, the service will not display all the questions you need to answer. This is likely to prevent you from successfully completing or submitting the form. You may wish to claim in another way."
And now on to the much more restricted list of what your computer needs to be running if you actually want to claim a benefit online.
"The service was designed to work with the following operating systems and browsers. Many of these are no longer available:
- Microsoft Windows 98: Internet Explorer versions 5.0.1, 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2
- Microsoft Windows ME: Internet Explorer version 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2
- Microsoft Windows 2000: Internet Explorer version 5.0.1, 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, Mozilla 1.7.7
- Microsoft Windows XP: Internet Explorer 6.0, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, Mozilla 1.7.7."
For the few of you out there wanting to claim benefits online who manage to dig out some old Windows machine from a basement or loft running an old enough version of IE or Firefox, there are further obstacles to getting any money out of the government.
"This service is not available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 1.00am to 1.30am because of essential maintenance work. We apologise for any inconvenience," warns the DWP.
Perhaps that's when their hamsters change shifts - you know, the ones that run inside wheels keeping government IT systems up and running.
We often speculate here at The INQUIRER that the government favours proprietary systems, and doesn't do enough to open up bid tenders to smaller suppliers and open source outfits. On the basis of the above evidence, we're concerned that the government is taking its mission to extremes.
Kudos to Jorgensen for spotting this.
More on this: Government's outdated push to Windows XP and IE software is unacceptable. µ
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