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.
    Jackie · 5 months ago
    Been holding on for 1 hour 11 mins.  Even did my shopping while waiting 
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    Julie-Ann whittaker · 5 months ago
    I have had a DWP payment put into my account and I don't know what it is for. I can't  find a number to help me find out what  this payment is for.
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    MattyT · 5 months ago
    6th November - 1 hour 57 mints no one answered
    4th of November - 3 hours, no answer 

    DWP / job centre plus is a joke yet they say they will fine you if you don’t update them, but how can you update them if they don’t pick up 
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    Lee walker · 5 months ago
    I've been trying to contact eas for 4 hours ( ongoing ) no1 answers you just get cut off after an hour to have to go through it all again and for the same to happen . The service is a joke and needs sorted.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    K · 5 months ago
    Been on hold for 1hr 50 mins they close in 5mins so no doubt I'll get cut off. It's absolutely shocking. 
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    David Cotterill-Drew · 5 months ago
    ESA helpline..6 minutes of questions and announcements....then 132 minutes of waiting.

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    wayne · 5 months ago
    sat on phone to ESA for 2 hours cut off 2 times looking like being cut off 3 time as still on phone waiting
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    James Mackenzie · 6 months ago
    Need to update my health problems, my health is detiriating and need to get in contact with ESA and pip, absolutely useless can't get through to anyone. What do I do?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ali · 6 months ago
    30 minutes still on hold to DWP number 0800 1690190 , it’s now 17.16pm not sure what time they close as letter does not state and I cannot find the information on line either
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jay · 6 months ago
    Spent 1hr 15 at lunchtime today waiting to speak to ESA before I had to hang up to go to the loo.  Called again at 15:30 and still on hold at 16:49 and counting
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ally · 6 months ago
    Phoned to tell them address was 30yrs out of date for my ESA and the letter they sent went to my parent house. I failed the security check of "what was your previous address?", which was a house I stayed at 12+years ago, as the address they have on the system was from 20+ years ago and i  didn't know its postcode (having stayed at 6 other places since then). I also failed "what's my doctors postcode?", which she didn't give me time to look that up.  1Hr on the phone to get though only to be hung up on when i failed their security check. I did pass my bank details check, my National Insurance Number check and my date of birth check and the name of my doctors surgery.  Personally think they were just wanting to hang up rather that help someone.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Paul · 6 months ago
    2nd of Nov 23. Been on hold for 1hr 27 mins to DWP. Disgraceful. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Baby Jane · 6 months ago
    In call for one hour, claim renewal has not happened, no decision letter , call cut off ! 
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    Michael Jeffery · 6 months ago
    Pathetic 1hour 22 minutes and no answer now for the ombudsman I've had enough 
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    Amb · 6 months ago
    I am trying to get through to ESA. I've been on hold for over an hour. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Gary protano · 6 months ago
    I have called dwp pip on a few occasions. Twice I have waited over an hour to speak to someone and within minutes they have hung up on me. How rude can you be. Sat there the first waiting and hoping that they were going to ring me back. They never did. After it happened the second time it caused me great distress. How many people is this happening to. ? 
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    Tom · 6 months ago
    The jobcentre line keeps hanging up randomly had it at 9 mins then 32 minute's this morning 
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    Clifford · 7 months ago
    It's not as simple as just to phone and to carry out a "change of address only" with pip or ESA, I have tried too get through too the ESA'Dept for weeks now assisting my son that has mental disorders with him. as well he has tried including the care home, yet with no luck but just today strangely he received a message on his phone telling him that he must contact them with "urgency" (HOW) why not call on him? Not sure (WHY) - it is such a very very sad and poor situation when dealing with people that have serious problems and just can't get through - what is really going on is the question at the end?

                     It's Shocking!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jo Phillips · 7 months ago
    1 hour 35 mins on hold……what more stress do they wish to put people through. Surely it’s about time they employed more staff???? The ironic thing is they text me to call them, surely a dedicated number for this should be given? I know I’ll get cut off again before anyone answers.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ellie · 7 months ago
    Hours and days spent on the phone trying to contact an ESA adviser about enrolment on  an online course of 8 hours a week as flexible learning just so that I'm not deprived of my income, fined or given a criminal record bit EVERY time that I called I was cut off before I was even put through.  In the end I gave up and passed it to my MP- along with a stern telling off to the effect that Government cannot complain about an economy in terminal decline when even the basics do not work. If nothing else, the email to my MP is proof that I repeatedly tried to contact them; so if they dare to penalise me for enrolling on this little course then I will see their worthless, lazy arses in court. Have had rnlugh
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