I think you're mixing two different things.
1) Some people have certifications expiring.
In many cases, if you certify a higher level certification, it will renew your older lower ranked certificate. But if your certification expires, you won't be able to take the higher level certification because that lower level certification is required to take the higher level.
So yes, in this case, people are being somewhat lazy, and frankly most companies would work with you on this.
2) Some people need a certification to be able to work.
This might mean that some people are unable to start working (i.e. take a job with a company) until they pass their certification.
This is a different issue altogether, and has nothing to do with laziness on the part of the test taker.