Which DWP number are you struggling to get through on?  Benefits and Work wants to find out more about which numbers have the longest wait times and also whether things improve with the introduction of ‘almost human’ AI chatbots answering calls.

Back in February, the DWP announced it was introducing Conversational Platform software to answer telephone calls.  The DWP described the voices claimants would hear as ‘almost human’.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the following month the DWP announced that it was closing 41 offices and that some staff would be redeployed to different roles.  The jobs affected are ‘back of house’ such as staff who answer telephones.

It may well be the case that wait times fall as a result of the introduction of AI.  But it’s also possible that the actual responses callers get will be of little help because they are simply talking to sophisticated FAQ software which can only give pre-programmed responses and can’t deal with follow-up questions.

As a first step we need to find out which are the numbers that you struggle with most and is it solely that no-one answers or do you get unhelpful responses, get cut-off before you’ve finished, get offers to call you back that never happen or get answers that are just plain wrong.

And do you know if you are talking to a human?

Some of the most likely suspects are:

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

PIP enquiry line

Telephone: 0800 121 4433

Jobcentre Plus for ESA change of circumstances

Telephone: 0800 169 0310

But there may be other numbers related to the benefits we deal with that are a problem for you.    Please let us know your experiences in the comments section below.

What to do if you can't get through

Some of our members have successfully got their MP's office involved when they have been unable to contact the DWP themselves. If you do try this, please let us know how it goes by leaving a comment.  There's more details here.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kellie · 11 hours ago
    Called PIP helpline as my son's claim is under review and his motability lease runs out in next few months.  It took 50 mins to get through.  A copy of our last decision is being sent and I was told the wait for a decision on claims is 59 weeks!!  Then she said that as we had an existing claim we would probably get a decision soon.
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    MaseiraSundise · 4 days ago
    Had to call PIP today as form never arrived for my son.  Each call on landline was disconnected but got through without a wait first time on mobile which is just as odd!  Turns out the day after I requested the form I was removed as appointee without my knowledge, which is odd as he cannot speak for himself.  They said they have updated the screen and forms on way now 🤞
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    Stephanie · 4 days ago
    I called at 3pm on a Friday. Waited 45 minutes for someone to answer. Finally got through, and tried to state my simple query but the call handler kept talking over me. I finally managed to ask and was told they needed to get a case worker to talk to me. So I waited on hold for a minute but was then cut off. 
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    Simon croft · 4 days ago
    Phone lines are down today ai said to try again next working day, three days away.
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    Matilda · 6 days ago
    How are there so many people in need of jobs applying for JSA and the office that's supposed to answer the phones doesn't seem to have a single living human in it? Boggles my mind. Hire someone to pick up the phone, please.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Morgan · 13 days ago
    Been trying DLA for months is there any other ways?
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    Jeremy Tubb · 20 days ago
    Cannot get through to ESA 08001690310 they have changed my ESA to JSA no reason
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    PolitelyFfustrated · 23 days ago
    ESA number ending in 0310 closed still but keeps saying that its open between 8+5
    It is now 10:12 so 2hours late and my payments missing 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    P.Littlewood · 28 days ago
    COME ON DWP NOBODY CAN GET THOUGH TO YOU AS THE NUMBER 
    DOES NOT WORK THE AI IA NOT WORKING LOOK AT THE MESSAGES COME HELP US 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stephen · 29 days ago
    Phone number 0800 169 0310 take over an hour and half for anyone to ever answer and by the time they do my phone battery is usually so low that the phone goes dead during the conversation. Absolute disgrace.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Marie-Rose Yepes · 1 months ago
    IMPOSSIBLE to get through to ESA. HOURS on the phone for nothing. They owe me so much money and it was supposed to be paid today and they haven’t. This puts us in such a delicate situation 
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    Francis · 1 months ago
    PIP Helpline: All the options end in a siren-like beeping then hang up, a recorded message saying they can’t help or an extremely long wait time. They texted me to ask me to call them and I can’t get back in touch, it’s ridiculous. Do I write them a letter?!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Gary Norman · 29 days ago
      @Francis Hi..I am in the same position, I want an update on my pip claim. I try calling and it's a siren like beeping or engaged tone, then just hangs up
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Dave · 1 months ago
    Been trying to contact esa for 2 weeks and can not get through now my benefit as stopped as they said in a message I have not got back to them it’s disgusting!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Brian · 1 months ago
    You can forget about ever getting through to Jobcentre Plus for ESA change of circumstances @ Telephone: 0800 169 0310.  I've called that number at various times of the day and on different days of the week, and never once did I got through to anybody, much less an AI Robot.....I've "hung-on-the-line" for over an hour most times.  I finally had enough and just gave up after each time of being placed on hold for more than an hour on each occasion.  I don't know how to reach any of these people other than through this number.  Obviously nobody is picking up the phone at DWP Jobcentre Plus.  My doctor will be putting me back to work soon.  I will need to contact DWP to inform them to stop the ESA payments (not that I've yet to receive one payment yet..)and there's no way I'll be able to reach anybody on this ridiculous 0800 number.......This country really is broken.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Karen · 1 months ago
    An absolute joke I've tried over a week now to make changes to my sons esa and all I'm getting is " we know you are waiting " well yes I've been on hold for nearly 3 hours every day for over a week how are you ment to make changes if they don't answer the phone. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Janice · 1 months ago
    I have tried for hours and days at a time appalling service - no one answers the phone at Jobcentre Plus for ESA change.  Why can't you just provide an email address - the telephone is conveniently easy to ignore - absolute shambles
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Frustrated · 1 months ago
    It's been 2 hours and still on phone not answered  this has been every day for a week  can't be that busy....thank you for waiting, we know you are waiting to speak to an agent, and will put you through as soon as we can...i hear this in my sleep
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    chris w · 1 months ago
    been on hold to ESA for 3 hours! what the heck , the automated line is a joke 
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    Gillian · 1 months ago
    My MP is the prime minister. I've just sent my email off because I can't get through to the PIP folks. Fingers crossed!
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