Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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DWP call times

Dear friends I am new on here and was wondering if anyone can give advice please.  I filled esa form some time ago and was called to assessment centre but due to bad mobility and anxiety I couldn't go but did advise them in advance.  I received a call last Thursday and the advisor left a message saying I had to call them to have the home visit explained and if I did not call then another assessment to to the centre would be the only way forward.  I have now tried with the help of my son holding on for almost an hour 3 times since Thursday last week.  My CBT therapist also tried to let them know how difficult things are for me.  The anxiety over them not answering the phone alone is making me ill.  What else can I do as that seemd ridiculous length of time to be holding on for.  Any advice?  Thank in advance


  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,189 Disability Gamechanger
    @ Frana18,  Hello and welcome, waiting for your call to be answered is very frustrating and time consuming. Having been kept waiting for 45 minutes the longest time to date. This is the norm for a lot of call centres not just the DWP. It would be nice to offer or use a call back service so at least you can do other things than sit holding the phone. All I can advise is keep trying and be prepared for a long wait. Try calling as soon as they open, but don’t give up.
  • Frana18Frana18 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Would a letter to them cover the fact that Ive been trying three times or do I need to stick with the call?  Thank you for getting back to me on this - so wound up by it now .
  • dillondillon Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Very long waiting times (20 to 40 minutes) are the norm (at least they were for me) when trying to call the DWP.

    When I did get through, I had to repeat all the 'security' questions again, and even then, I found that the person you talked to didn't always give accurate infomation.  Usually, it was contradictory to the infomation I had been given on the previous call.

    If I have to contact the DWP by phone I now go to the Citizens Advice Bureau because this means I have a 'witness' to what's been said to me on the phone - whereas before, it was 'your word against theirs', and your 'word' means didly squat to them.

    It was an extremely stressful experience.

    Try to prepare yourself for it, set aside plenty of time, have all your paperwork sorted and ready, aswell as a cuppa or cold drink, and something (TV, paper etc) to help you endure the waiting time.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Frana18 and a warm welcome to the community! Did you manage to get through to them?
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  • Silver925Silver925 Member Posts: 87 Courageous
    I find calling first thing is best the longest I've waited was about 1 hour but that might have been because it was near to Christmas and everyone had the same idea to call first thing. I wouldn't call after 5pm though they don't seem to answer after that in my experience. The awful music dosnt help either. You could ask if someone you appoint could speak on your behalf they might allow this in certain situations but you must answer security questions yourself first and give them permission to speak to your appointed. This has worked for me.
  • Frana18Frana18 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Sorry for not replying sooner.  I’ve had a bit of a depressing time.  Yes I got through after 6 attempts and they have changed their mind over my home visit 😢.  Advisor clearly left a message on my mobile saying I was to call with regards to arranging a home visit.  Now he said I have to go to the assessment centre and I can’t.  The letter was lengthy from my psychotherapist detailing everything - but now this advisor has changed it.  I literally can’t cope.  My sister has made herself homeless and arrived here with all her bags of things. I don’t have space and anxiety n pain through the roof.  Feeling very lost today friends 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear this. Did they say why they changed their mind? Have you sent a letter from your GP stating the reasons why a home visit is needed? The letter from your psychotherapist most likely isn't enough to grant the home assessment. Also if you attend other appointments then this can go against you for a home visit because they can say if you can attend other appointments then you can attend the assessment centre.

    As your sister is now with you, can she attend the assessment with you? This may help with anxiety on the day knowing she's there for you.

    I'm sorry to hear about your sister. Do be aware that if she's staying with you permanently then this could affect any benefits you receive, like council tax reduction and severe disability premium, if you claim this.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Frana18Frana18 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    My psychotherapist comes to my home and my sister is staying a few nights here and a few nights at her partner and friend.  She has very complex mental health which in turn makes me worse with my conditions.  Such a mess it all is.  The advisor clearly stated in his message I was to call them back to have the home visit explained .  Then he changed it saying the procedure is another face to face assessment .  Seems very unfair he can do that.  Thanks everyone for helping.  
  • davetdavet Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    I have not previously had any problems at all with my ESA, however I was due a payment this week which didnt go into my bank, so I called the free phone number and eas staggered at how long I was kept on hold, I had a doctors appointment to attend so had to hang up after 35 minutes, on my return I rang again, this time 38 mins I had a telephone number  for the complaints and feedback department at my local job centre, so out of desperation I rang that the girl I spoke to assured me that I would get a payment later that day,next day  at 7.30am I checked my online banking and no payment, so I rang the free phone again at 8.00am only to find even at that time' all of their advisors were busy' so I rang the girl at the Job centre again only to be told rather rudely that she had done what she could, it wasnt realy her job but she would chase it up, she then told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to ring that number again, I didnt feel very confident that she would actually do anything so I rang the free phone again and after 27 minutes it was answered and I was promised a payment by midnight that day, it was however in my bank within half an hour.
    I have written a very strongly worded letter to the senior manager at our regional 'Service' centre, but we all know it will be to no avail
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,942 Scope community team
    Hi @davet, how frustrating! Did they even explain what the delay had been? 
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  • davetdavet Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    Hi Adrian, when I spoke to the girl at the job centre, she said there was an issue which should have been resolved by now, however she she was rather adverse about telling me what the actual issue was saying they would write to me if they need to, however, when I spoke to someone on the free phone, they could find no reason for it being delayed despite my telling them I was told there was an issue, so I dont have the faintest idea of why my payment was not made, I have however, in my letter asked for clarification of this'issue' so only time will tell, but I simply expect a return letter full of empty apologies and references to policy as per usual
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,942 Scope community team
    Let us know if you hear anything @davet.
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    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
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