As someone who likes to sit around in his dressing gown watching daytime TV, Sneak is well-versed with the process of claiming benefits to fund his relaxed lifestyle. So he was very excited with the transition of certain benefit claim forms to the web, meaning even less reason for him to interact with any actual humans.
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However, it seems that many of those claimants could fall at the first hurdle due to some rather outdated stipulations about the computer systems supported by the DWP.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's putting it mildly. Sneak has decided to post these system requirements here in their full glory, as he 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."
This sent Sneak running to dig out his old Windows ME machine from the loft, running IE 4 - but there are still 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.
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