I've heard this from candidates: "I've done the job before with great success but the recruiter won't present me to the company because I don't have the degree the managers want."
Certainly there are great candidates who can do the job without the required degree. History is dotted with examples of very successful, non-degreed achievers.
But when the client company's hiring manager believes, probably from previous, successful employees with the "right" degree, that such academic credentials are necessary, headhunters/recruiters say there is no changing their mind. And, recruiters say that usually the client company is right: that academic knowledge is critical to the job.
The complaining candidate also says: "The recruiter isn't doing enough to lobby for me or people like me." This candidate wants to be treated in a special way. Sorry, that's just not how it works: a recruiter is not your agent. And if you don't want to (or have chosen not to) finish that degree, then it's hard to complain about being treated as someone, well, who doesn't have a degree.
Recruiters say, "We would have no credibility if we went to the employer with someone who doesn't fit a big minimum requirement." Credibility is a recruiter's currency; without it they cannot get an audience with the hiring manager, cannot land that recruiting contract. And their paycheck then disappears.
As a job search coach, I have a strong suggestion, even if you're "older". If you intend to work at least another 5-10 years, you should seriously consider getting or finishing your degree. There are many options out there today and many colleges that are relatively flexible about existing credits being transferred in, and credits for work experience.
You'll be amazed at your new knowledge and how it will help you in your job.
Cost? Well, what is it costing you now to not have that degree?
And how many more times will you find yourself doing that self-defeating thing of thinking/saying, "I'm better at my job than so many co-workers who have their degrees!" Stop measuring yourself against them and move on to -- yes -- being all you can be.
Getting the diploma means you won't have "lack of a degree" to blame any more. And you'll be amazed at how great that feels.