To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the cost to claimants of the length of waiting times when making calls to his Department related to universal credits.
16 December 2016
The average cost for a claimant waiting when making a call from a landline to Universal Credit is £0.41. This is based on the Average Speed to Answer of 3 minutes 27 seconds for this financial year to date.
When a claimant phones Universal Credit and the Telephony Agent (TA) has established the reason for the call, the claimant may request a call back if they cannot afford the call. In these circumstances the TA must encourage the claimant to go online if the reason for the call is to make a claim to Universal Credit.
If the claimant is considered vulnerable or suffering hardship, the TA can agree to the call back. Where the TA can ring back immediately they will do that, alternatively where this is not possible they will advise the claimant they will be called back within 3 hours and wrap up the call.