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.

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    Jez · 1 months ago
    I've been on for over 9 hours a day since Monday. 

    It's a good job that its a free number.

    I just wish that all these Civil Servants (and yes, hands up I was one myself for a while - I did go into the Private Sector eventually), would actually answer the phones which is all they are paid to do.

    As an aside I have a mate who is a Manager in a Job Centre nearby and as a joke I bet him that I could do a whole Days worth of appointments in less than the 9-5. He agreed as he thought that all the unemployed were just wasters.

    I phoned all the claimants and brought all the appointments forward to have 10 min each back to back. 

    Needless to say I was finished by Lunchtime.

    He found it rather funny but for some reason the Union rep wasn't happy at all. (I can't think why)!

    Ho hum. Now if anyone knows of a job going in South Wales please let me know.

    Thanks





















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    Jackie · 1 months ago
    P.I.P.Enquires 
    This is an absolute joke,  the robot answers but can't understand human voices half of the time 
    Eventually you finally get put on hold after the security questions and are left listening to music for hours 
    Or
    When your patience runs out 
    RIDICULOUS 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Les G · 1 months ago
    Been phoning since Monday to report a death, on over an hour, no one picked up. Same again just. Absolute joke but would be quick to take money from us

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    Paul B · 1 months ago
    Rang uc this morning and so far no be waited 2hrs and 20 min to speak to someone and still waiting!!! Update the finial time 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Paul B · 1 months ago
      @Paul B They cut me off after waiting with their music for 3 hours! Which means I get to ring back and do it all again. Cheers UC
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    I gardner · 1 months ago
    Rang Monday 20th June twice no answer waited 30 minutes first time
    25 minutes second time.
    Tuesday 21st rang after 10 am waited 35 minutes gave up .
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Eileen · 2 months ago
    I wanted to know what the earliest time pip start answering the phone
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    Angela · 2 months ago
    Pip 0800 121 4433 disgrace still on waiting after an hour so stressful 
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    david · 2 months ago
    I've been trying for the last 2 days waiting on the phone for over a hour until I hang up

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    Petrina Lundgren · 2 months ago
    It took me 20 minutes to get through to the 21 87777 from Spain, and then only an answering service which kept me waiting further, until I hung up.  It would be helpful to have other numbers to call.   I realise that DWP may be short staffed and after a weekend may be busier than usual, but I needed to query unexpected payments which were not supported by correspondence.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    C · 2 months ago
    Been on hold for an hour and no one’s replying to me on the silly journal  
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    Lauren · 2 months ago
    Been on hold for an hour to have the phone cut off and rang back 7 times and phones been cut off each time. Universal need to seriously sort there s**t out. Messed my claim up and now I'm due to get paid before the bank holiday and cannot get through and they are not answering on my journal either. Joke of a system! Should have never changed from tax credits never had these issues with them
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Salbo · 2 months ago
    Trying to call UC on  0800 328 5644, the only number I can find. Robots mess you about for several minutes - "Press 1 for this, 2 for that" etc - then when you finally get to where you want to be it's engaged!!! Can the Government please recognise that MANY people are now on UC thanks to them making UC their only option and GET THESE PHONE LINES PROPERLY MANNED!!!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ann Henshaw · 2 months ago
    1hr on phone so far to Universal Credit, music is crap too
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Rox · 2 months ago
    I have been trying to get through to DWP 0800 169 0190 a few times regarding payments I am not receiving, one hour wait each time and no one is picking up! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Julie · 3 months ago
    2 took an hour each for U. C & ESA. But PIP!!!!!!! ...Robot chat for 20mins then engaged tone followed by disconnection.

    CHUCKED BACK TO BOTTOM OF PILE!!!!! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lorry. · 3 months ago
    ESA. Due to ill health tried to claim ESA. Told I couldn't claim even though dwp helpline stated i needed to claim. Subsequently lost employment due to health. Sent paper application downloaded by friend Jan 2020..lockdown March. Couldn't get through to check claim. Constantly cut of after going through robotic answers and pressing appropriate extension for new claim. After 15 attempts gave up. Jan 2021 tried again. 5 attempts to be told I should have pressed advice extension this way would have got through. Grrr. Made a Phone claim. Heard nothing 4mths.  Now ran out of money. Benefit adviser ran on my behalf to discover 1st application not received. 2nd phone application now nsesa as not willing to process original esa claim. Discovered not processed adviser told to reapply on line. Which they did another nsesa, Aug. 2021, 3rd attempt. Assessment started. Lots of form filling and questions. 6mths later told as I've been unemployed 2 yrs cannot claim. Gave up applied for uc. UC Took another 4mths to decide lcwra. Even though had been assessed support group nsesa. No payments for 2yrs until uc. Hours and hours of consultation with ESA.. Waisted time. Loss of benefit, no backdating, to start from beginning again with UC. Whole system does not support disabled, vulnerable persons. Exasperated, physically and mentally affected by whole rigmarole. 
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    Twig · 3 months ago
    I have a child away at Residential school. Trying to inform pip of boarders dates. Refused to take dates over phone. No forms received. Disaster now overpaid. Terrible dept. Took 1hr 15mins to talk to a human being whom was very unhelpful. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stoggsy · 3 months ago
    Tried to ring the PIp helpline numerous times but gave up because of the prolonged wait times. I then wrote to them instead. Still received no  reply so went through the complaints procedure  & again did not receive a reply.  Eventually gave up up after months of trying even though they owe me money from a backdated increase in PIP payments.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Charles · 3 months ago
    Almost 4 hours after thinking i was already being assessd for a change of circumstances advance 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sara · 4 months ago
    50 minutes on hold so far to give change of circs details.

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