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.

Comments

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Francis · 14 hours 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?!
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    Dave · 1 days 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 days 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.
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    Karen · 1 days 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. 
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    Janice · 1 days 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 · 2 days 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 · 2 days ago
    been on hold to ESA for 3 hours! what the heck , the automated line is a joke 
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    Gillian · 2 days 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!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jay · 2 days ago
    ESAto note change of circumstances. Get to around 45 mins waiting to be then cut off. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jenny · 2 days ago
    The dwp has informed my local council tax dept I no longer live at my current address and  have giving them an address I lived at 5 years ago . I cannot reach any DWP department to speak to about this !! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jess w · 2 days ago
    I know this is old but people are still commenting and things are almost worse.. I've spent a total of 5hrs on hold in two days... what can we do about this? 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jackie · 3 days ago
    I phoned 08001690310 just after 4pm on Friday and was on hold for over an our and a half, then a message played saying that there had been a problem and I should phone back at another time, it then cut the call off
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Christine · 5 days ago
    been on the line now for 2 and half hours still no reply, trying to find out why I havent had no money for a month and probably have to wait again till next week.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Russell knight · 5 days ago
    Totally useless they phoned me left a message I rang back was on hold for an hour then it cut off then I rang next day 1 hour and half no one answered then I rang today got through they told me after an hour wait I was  phoning wrong department they said there’d put me through to right department was on hold an hour and ten minutes then they cut me off if I owed them money they would be on me like a rash and also they should put humans back to answer not bloody robots it’s a total joke
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sandra Paul · 5 days ago
    Waste of time trying to phone DWP 0800 7310122 they do not answer it is shambolic and shameful.Piibably working at home and out walking their dogs.I was not looking for a benefit wanted to stop a benefit.They need kicked into action.
    Think we all need to go to our local MP and see if they will do something about this.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mel · 5 days ago
    (08001690310) Been trying for 3 days to get through to this number and waiting for hours on end! Not received the last 3 payments of ESA! No one is picking up at all! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Katia · 5 days ago
      @Mel same here, since yesterday I have been trying to call, waiting for hour and a half each time and nothing, just wanted to report changes
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jamie Geezer · 5 days ago
    Rung up yesterday (Thursday 11th April) about a misssing ESA payment,  and finally after an hour or so on the phone, i get told the old style ESA had updates and my claim got put on pause. I got told a payment would be made yesterday and to check my bank every hour. This was at 09:30. I had no payment by 16:15 , so i spent a further 2 hours on the phone until 18:20 and finally got through, to only give my NI number then to be hanged up on. Friday 12th April,  i have been on the phone for 2
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ash · 6 days ago
    Not received my usual ESA payment. I've been trying to get through on 0800 169 0310 since half past 8 this morning it's now 11.15 am and my third attempt at ringing. Absolutely ridiculous when you're anxious and left wondering as to why you haven't been paid. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Melissa · 7 days ago
    (0800 121 4600)

    have been trying to get in contacted with DWP, on  the phones, for over two weeks now. Two days I finished work early around 2pm 
    I was on the line for hour, till their end of day 5pm and fun cause it was still saying we know you waiting and someone will be available shortly. I made a joke that I felt like no one actually pick up these phone, but now I totally believe nobody answers this phone I was on the line for over 4/5 hours 
    I’ve called in the morning, afternoons, evening, numerous different days numerous different times and still no difference no one picks up!! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Russell knight · 5 days ago
      @Melissa It’s disgusting they are there to help us but no one ever answers the phones it just adds to my mental health problems
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