Age Cymru seeks assurances for older people unable to complete Settled Status applications
Age Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to reassure older people who, for any number of reasons, are unable to complete an application for Settled Status by the deadline of 30 June 2021.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, citizens from EU countries living in the UK, except for those from the Republic of Ireland, now have to apply for Settled Status to continue living, working and studying in the UK. Settled Status will also enable access to a range of support services such as health and social care, pension credit, and housing benefit – services that are of huge importance to many older people.
However, Age UK estimates that approximately 47,000 older people in the UK have not applied for Settled Status which would roughly translate to around 2,000 older EU nationals in Wales.
Many older people may not be aware that they have to apply for Settled Status as they have been shielding from the pandemic or living in relative isolation in care homes. While many others would be unable to complete the application process because it is only available online and even involves scanning documentation. However, more than half of the over 75s in Wales are not online. Under such circumstances people would have found it difficult to seek support from family and friends in making the application.
Age Cymru has co-signed a letter with a number of national older people’s organisations from throughout the UK , calling on the Home Secretary to extend the deadline.
Many of the affected people are now extremely old, disabled, and in some cases living with dementia which would render the application process virtually impossible for them. While others may not have the required documentation such as a passport to prove their eligibility.
Age Cymru’s chief executive, Victoria Lloyd, says: It is inconceivable that extremely vulnerable older people will be denied crucial support services simply because they are not internet savvy or because they have been shielding from the pandemic. Many of these older people will have lived here for decades, forging careers and raising families.
“While we understand that the Welsh Government did not design the application process nor set the deadline, they can offer reassurances to this vulnerable group that they will continue to have the support of health and social services in Wales regardless of their application.
“We would also urge carers, families and friends who may be in contact with someone who may need to apply for Settled Status to offer your support and encourage them to make the application before the looming deadline.”