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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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Charlotte · 2 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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    michele · 2 years ago
    I'm still on hold to speak to someone about ESA  - 40 mins so far..getting a bit sick of the hold music and the constant thank you for waiting message
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    Danni · 2 years ago
    I’ve only recently been trying to sort out PIP and is conlekty new to the system of benefits , it’s disgraceful that I’ve waited 50 mins 
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    Poppy · 2 years ago
    30 minutes and counting the over voice is actually annoying now constantly apologising they should answer the call then 
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    Leslie B · 2 years ago
    I have waited longer than 2 hours (I fell asleep  waiting) and still didn't get an answer. I have a rule now that I will wait  no longer than an hour before I hang up. For six months now I have been trying to update my details and have not received one answer yet before my 1 hour deadline. 
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    Darshan · 2 years ago
    29 minutes & counting 
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    Pete · 2 years ago
    Still on hold at 16.8. Been on hold 45 mins so far but I'm sure the office is closed at 4. The unjaring music and the recording apologising insincerely  Is actually really upsetting. 

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    Nicola · 2 years ago
    2 hours and still holding on. The service is a disgrace! Those who need it the most are the ones who cannot hold on for long. The entire system needs an overall. Shameful! 
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    Yorkie83 · 2 years ago
    Over the past 2 days… been on hold for over 6 hours. No response. All I need to do is change my address. In 2022… why can’t this be done online?
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    Toni-Louise Oliver · 2 years ago
    The system does not consider those with mental health. No regular person wants to be on hold for longer than they need be but to wait 1hr 45 mins just added to my anxiety and anger and I out the phone down. It affected my whole day. Now I've been on for 19 minutes because the lazy system text me to call them, instead of actually doing some work and calling me. Would have been a lot easier. But I won't wait on this line much longer!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tee44 · 2 years ago
    32 minutes and still waiting... Shocking
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Loz · 2 years ago
    On now over an hour. 
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    Sam · 2 years ago
    2 hours waiting currently and no answer yet. Utterly ridiculous.
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    Adz · 2 years ago
    3hours on waiting on phone to answer with dwp for a advance payment this is just seer ignorance now with no forethought I'm fuming but who will listen or idnore my complaint no one. Ridiculous. 
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    Paula · 2 years ago
    PIP Helpline 29/04/2022 @ 15.43 have currently been on hold for 39 minutes....no answer yet
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    Alex andrew tindle · 2 years ago
    Currently 2 hours 1 minutes on hold was on hold for 1 hour 5 mins at 10 am this morning before I gave up 
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    Abdul Ghafoor · 2 years ago
    the frustration and anger these issues cause are never ending !
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    Lynn Parkin · 2 years ago
    Absolutely not fit for purpose service ...DWP ESA ...wait on average 2 hours, but a few days ago, waited 2 hours, then the call was disconnected and then called again and waited another 45 mins..nothing sorted yet 5 days later and spoken too 2 different advisers, the manager or an advisor twice. 
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    LMH · 2 years ago
    We have been waiting almost 2 hours … the message hasn’t changed even though the closing time has past. Does this mean we are still in a queue?
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    Becky · 2 years ago
    1 hour and 53 minutes 1st call today, I hung up as I assumed there was a fault with my phone. Been on hold for 30 minutes so far with second call!

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