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.
    Rosa · 3 days ago
    ESA NUMBER IS NOT WORKING AT ALL.
    The automatic system picks up and as always advices to have your NIN at hand and then when it hits the 01:00 minute it cuts off. What’s going on? 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Atwitsend · 14 days ago
    Phoned in to PIP today, long a running issue since Dec 2023, in which I've written 3 letters, providing supporting evidence, pointing out a mistake made by them (not following their procedure, as outlined on their website) and also asking for additional info on how to do something (as outlined on their own website). The last letter was sent to them in March 2024, but they still have not responded.  

    First person I spoke to was quite blunt, and said, you are giving me a lot of info, what do you want me to do about it?  I said I was trying to make her aware of the whole situation and wanted a response based on the queries in my last letter as I've provided all the evidence they asked for, as well as a response to direct questions I've asked two previous letters but the question was ignored (please note, PIP is already in place, but payments stopped and the threat of cancellation was made). Thankfully, I was passed to a case worker who was much more understanding, spoke to me with respect, and said they would get all of the different areas that needed attention and action.  
    Fingers crossed, it all gets sorted, I'll give it a couple of weeks, and try again if I don't hear back.  Spent 56 mins on the phone in total, I think the wait was about 40/45 mins. 
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    Wendy · 18 days ago
    Trying to call social fund for the umpteenth time over the last few weeks. It often gets cut off as soon as get through so I thought my luck was in today when I started hearing the automated voice “thank you for waiting, we’ll put you through as we can” I’ve now been listening to that voice for 1hr 20 mins…grrrrr. 
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    Liz · 21 days ago
    Called social fund line 4 days running....each time I called twice and was waiting nearly 90 minutes then would get cut off. Still not managed to talk to them despite waiting a total of 12 hours on the phone this week.

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    Sum1 · 22 days ago
    Hi All, 

    first time commenting on here. hope it useful. I was dreading calling PIP line bec of past exp eg being on hold for long without any answer/ cut off even. 

    Called today and sharing experience. 

    Thursday 30 My 24 @ 12.31pm.

    First attempt exp Call routing/and data collection issues. might be due to conference call set up. Had claimant on the line too. tried to use voice input and keypad to supply dob and mobi number. DOB was not recognised correctly even after number of tries using keypad and voice input. 
    There was no time to input tel no# before next stage of call . Outcome is that had torepeat info again to agent. 

    Call answered at 13.15pm. approx 45min waiting. 

    CAll answered by Human agent . not chat bot. 

    Call outcome and resolution: 
    I explained i was calling on behalf of two claimants both members of my family. 

    Existing PIP Claimant A physically present with me for call 
    New PIP Claimant B non present in person but i could get them to join the call. 

    Agent was professional and deal with Clmt B query under 5mins, even though B  were not present. Interestingly age advised there was no note on the system that i was helping B with her appln. We explicitly stated that i would be completing the appln on B behalf when we called to complete new claim  P1. 
    outcome was Appl extn granted immediately. Clmt B confirmed recving sms notification of new deadline. 

    Agent explained the call would be transferred to caseworker for Clamt A query re appointee process. Caseworker was professional and kept me informed regularly re actions and progress on call. He even answered some addtional questions i had clearly. 

    Call ended at 1hr 18m . 2nd call took 30mins+

    took time but wasn't frustrating once call answered. 

    Hope it account helps others 

  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    mike · 24 days ago
    4 hours without a response. I was a call centre manager for 30 years, gis a job, I can do better that your current management!
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    Pringles4Dinner · 28 days ago
    I called today at 16:44 and waited 57 mins and 54 seconds. I expected to be cut off anytime after 17:00 so was surprised when a human answered. Despite the long wait, the advisor I spoke to was kind and patient and my query was dealt with satisfactorily.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kellie · 1 months 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.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    MaseiraSundise · 1 months 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 🤞
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stephanie · 1 months 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. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Simon croft · 1 months ago
    Phone lines are down today ai said to try again next working day, three days away.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Matilda · 1 months 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 · 1 months ago
    Been trying DLA for months is there any other ways?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jeremy Tubb · 1 months 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 · 1 months 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 · 1 months 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 · 2 months 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 · 2 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 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Francis · 2 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 · 2 months 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
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