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.
    Lauren · 2 years 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
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    Salbo · 2 years 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 years 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 years 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! 
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    Julie · 2 years 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. · 2 years 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 · 2 years 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 · 2 years 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 · 2 years ago
    Almost 4 hours after thinking i was already being assessd for a change of circumstances advance 
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    Sara · 2 years ago
    50 minutes on hold so far to give change of circs details.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jools · 2 years ago
    ESA line is appalling. I made over 17 calls last year. Sat in hold queues for nearly an hour each time to then speak to people who didn't have the knowledge or inclination to help. Promised 4 call backs. Eventually after a complaint and support from my mp everything was resolved.....or so I thought.
    I'm now up to 6 phone calls. 2 promised call backs and now a further 3rd for tomorrow. I won't hold my breath.
    The dwp need more staff not less on the phones. It'll be a disaster! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bernard · 2 years ago
    Hi received my payment today 11 April , don’t get payment usually till 14 of every month, I wonder why I got my payment today 11th ? Lol
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Christine · 2 years ago
    Have tried several times to report a Change of Circumstance to DLA. Automated message after 20 minute plus wait. With best times to call back then when trying at that time get an automated message after longer wait. Very distressing.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mand · 2 years ago
    I had to make five attempts in one day to give details for pip.  Each time I was cut off before finishining. On one occasion the phone was answered and automatically hung up. I managed to complete it after just over two hours( Very distressing). When I finally got a letter from them, they had got  my name wrong and put me down as power of attorney. I had to call again to explain their error and was waiting for 45 minutes before someone answered the phone. Spoke to two people who still got my name wrong and am still waiting just for the forms to arrive. I started the application in the middle of march.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Shrimp · 2 years ago
    over the course of about 4 days I spent nearly 10 hours waiting to get through to PIP, eventually after hour and half got answered, then had to ring again 2 weeks later and waited 45 minutes
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bud · 2 years ago
    I waited just 20 minutes a few days ago to get through to PIP, is this a record of the shortest time?  Although I had to try twice before I got through as it kept cutting me off.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    steven · 2 years ago
    takes about 40 + mins to get phone answered whenever i call the esa number
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Garry · 2 years ago
    PIP - got through eventually, on hold for almost half an hour, then told someone would ring back, 3 weeks later, no on phoned back, and now I'm struggling to get through, and when I do what is said does not make any sense
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Deb · 2 years ago
    PIP 50 minutes this week when they stopped my payments because they said they hadn’t received my renewal form despite confirming 2 weeks previously that they had. I sent it recorded delivery. They apologised for the error.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Chris · 2 years ago
    Yeah the waiting time on the phone is diabolical 50mins to 2hrs i rang up the other week to ask how my SDP backpayment was goin on i got through after an hour and 8 mins to be cut off its so stressful waiting ages on the phone for some person to cut you off joke
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