The process of applying for the Age Pension is a fraught experience for many older Australians, according to a joint study conducted by National Seniors Australia (NSA) and Retirement Essentials.
Retirement Essentials founder and CEO Paul Rogan said the study revealed the scale of the problem for the first time.
“Our study, conducted by National Seniors Australia, proves beyond doubt that the Age Pension application services is a deeply complex and frustrating experience for many,” he said.
“This is an important document for senior Australians and public policy stakeholders. It shines a light on a vast problem which has been ‘hiding in plain sight’.”
Rogan said the study found conclusively that less than four in ten seniors were satisfied with the current Age Pension application process. Specifically, it also found that 88 per cent of people in the survey were dissatisfied with Age Pension application forms and processes.
He said that beyond those who were simply frustrated, there were many eligible people who actually gave up on accessing their entitlements.
“And when the purpose of the Age Pension is to be a safety net, we need to do more to assist seniors to navigate the complex process and support them,” he said.
Rogan said Retirement Essentials recently launched a service that combined an easy-to-use website with “good old-fashioned, accessible telephone service,” which he claimed solved many of the issues identified in the report.
He said that, crucially, the website was easy to use because it had been designed with seniors, for seniors.
“We worked with seniors to better understand how they prefer to interact with technology and we quickly learned that a hybrid service that links good old-fashioned customer service with human-centred technology would work best,” Rogan said.