Waiting times for employment and support allowance (ESA) enquiries have rocketed over the last five years, and may actually be much worse than the DWP admits. We would like to hear from Benefits and Work readers about their experiences of trying to get through to the DWP on the phone.

In a written parliamentary answer this week, the government revealed that waiting times for an answer to an ESA enquiry had risen from an average of 1 minute 25 seconds in 2013-2014 to an average of 13 minutes and one second in 2017-2018.

However, the time does not include time spent having to listen to messages before being placed in a queue or the waiting times of callers who eventually gave up. The first of these would clearly increase the waiting times and the second may well have done.

No details were given of the percentage of callers who abandoned their attempts after a lengthy wait or how long that wait was.

In relation to PIP, the wait times over the same period have increased from 2 minutes and 5 seconds to 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

The figures didn’t cover the universal credit helpline.

We’d like to hear from readers about their experience of trying to get through to the DWP on the phone. Not just how long you had to wait but also whether you actually got an answer to your query when you finally got through or whether you were simply placed on hold or even cut off, as some people have reported.

You can read the full figures on the parliament website.

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    S e Mcneilis · 1 years ago
    35 mins then 31 then 15 min still no answer 
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    Andrea · 1 years ago
    49 minutes and counting.. ESA
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    MW · 1 years ago
    46 mins still in queue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Melanie · 1 years ago
    Today called pip to inform bank details are changing as well as dr address.  27 minutes waiting before I got an advisor
    I'm currently on hold to inform ESA of the same changed I'm on 25 mins AND WAITING....this is probably stressful for most people but can you imagine how stressful it is when you have a challenging mental health condition. 
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    Mike · 1 years ago
    Today I called pip twice.
    First was on hold for 1 hr and 12 mins then I got cut off.
    Called back again another 1 hrs and 9 mins when I eventually got to speak to someone.
    So over 2 hrs in total quite disqusting service if you ask me.
    I'm sure they do it on purpose to make you hang up.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mitch · 1 years ago
    Currently still waiting for the PIP line, heard the "we are busy at the moment, please hold and we will answer your call as soon as possible" 57 minutes and counting. I'm sure the phone lines close at 5pm so not sure if the last 7 minutes onwards that I'm holding are for nothing 
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    Fiona Hamilton · 1 years ago
    One hour 9 mins esa and pip at same time 30 mins 
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    Vince · 1 years ago
    i'm on hold now and have been waiting 43 mins 

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    Toni · 1 years ago
    Over four days on phone for average of three hours a day and still didn't answer 
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    walt · 1 years ago
    on hold now for 33.26 , and that voice asking me to hold is starting to get on my wick right now , simple solution employ more people to answer the phones 
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    David · 1 years ago
    Currently on hold 48 minutes with no answer. 
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    Barbara · 1 years ago
    Waited 70 mins today. They needcto call me back tomorrow due to the late hour
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    Kim · 1 years ago
    Total 3 hours today!!!!!
    Tried 3 times, each time an hour or more, listening to that same god awful tune on a loop!!
    And it was them who texted me this morning, requesting that I call them, as they owe me Money??????
    If they don’t answer, how else is one to contact them?
    It’s exhausting!!!!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sean · 1 years ago
    45 min and still waiting 
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    Jasmine · 1 years ago
    5 hours and still holding. That's just one call today. I have tried other days and had to abandon calls because I was on hold for too long.
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    Alana · 1 years ago
    Waiting for a call to ask for extended time on letter... its currently been 1 hr and 3 mins.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andy · 1 years ago
    Second call to ESA, 1st call I waited 50 mins and now the second call been waiting nearly 45 mins !!!!!
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    Anne · 1 years ago
    45 mins - had to give up
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    Peter · 1 years ago
    20 mins to connect. 10 of which was navigating the options menus. To discover why payment is reduced by £85p/w (nearly 40% of total income)
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    Charlotte · 1 years ago
    45 mins and still counting!! The payment wasnt paid in today and im desperately on jold trying to find out why! Im a single mother with cancer and finding this so stressful 

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