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.
    Andria · 1 years ago
    63 minutes 48 secs, and still waiting ......
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    K · 1 years ago
    Over an hour and still waiting!!!
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    William · 1 years ago
    Waited on hold for just over 1 hour, line connected and before I could complete my NINO, the guy hung up. I have now been on hold for over another hour!!! Not happy, not happy at all.
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    Kazza · 1 years ago
    1hour 28mins still waiting?
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    William · 1 years ago
    57 minuets and still waiting!!!
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    rach · 1 years ago
    53 mins for ESA as I am typing...still waiting

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    Jane · 1 years ago
    I have been on hold for 36 minutes now. This is my third call in a week. I had to abandon the other two calls due to long waiting times
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    Jane · 1 years ago
    We are trying to find out what's happened to my claim. We sent this in January. Sent a SSP1 form in February. And not heard a thing. Been on phone now waiting for just over 1/2 hour.
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    Julie · 1 years ago
    I am trying to get through to them now and I have been waiting on hold for over 48 minutes
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    Maria · 1 years ago
    Appalling service. I have been waiting for a reply for a total of 8 hours over a period of 2 days. I am now personally complaining to the government. It is not good enough. When you are already feeling unwell, this can tip you well and truly over the edge. Something has got to be done about the unacceptable waiting times.
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    Demi · 2 years ago
    I think these figures are not accurate as I have had to call ESA 4 times now and each time has been well over 2 hours, I even googled if the office was closed but I do eventually get through after a few rounds of bubble blaster on my phone and horrendous hold music blaring
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    Shawart · 2 years ago
    Been on hold now for 49mins and counting.... appalling service
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    Charli Moon · 2 years ago
    I've currently been on hold 40 mins, hope they don't cut me off
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tom Carter · 2 years ago
    Why is this taking so long?
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    Tom Carter · 2 years ago
    I have been on hold for 35minutes and still counting this is disgusting
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    Avril Blades · 2 years ago
    I’m currently on hold…45 minutes in
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    Mark maydew · 2 years ago
    Been waiting for my pip, ,sent it in June 2021 after they sent me the how your disability affects you ,its now February 2022 been on standed for both components since 2015 .I have been waiting for the letter since then , I did receive a txt from dwp on August 23rd saying they have received my form etc, rang them today still waiting for someone too answer the phone 35 mins ,on phone as I write this , 12 months ,I have this hanging over me ,it's made me ill , total disgrace how they treat vulnerable and disabled people , WE ARE SORRY, SOMEONE WILL ANSWER MY CALL WHEN THEY ARE AVAILABLE, 40 MINS NOW ,
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