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Benefit Claimants Still Being Ripped Off By 0845 Numbers At DWP

March 23, 2015

Millions of claimants who phone benefit and pension advice services are still being charged for higher rate calls.

Ministers pledged two years ago to phase out the expensive 0845 numbers for people dialling government lines.

But figures show they are still being used – and there is no timetable for when they will be switched to cheaper lines.

A Parliamentary answer revealed that since 2012, a total of 12 million calls were made to the Pension Service on 0845 numbers. This includes 2.5million in 2014/15.

In the same period the 0845 number was used for 2.9 million calls to the Carer’s Allowance Unit, 530,282 calls to the Winter Fuel Payments line, and 360,439 calls to the Bereavement Benefits.

Government figures

Labour MP Frank Field, who unearthed the figures, blasted: “At the very point in their lives when millions of people are most in need, they are being fleeced by the Government and the phone companies.

“Ministers promised over a year ago that these rip-off lines would be scrapped. Might they now sanction such a move as quickly as they sanction claimants?”

The cost of 0845 numbers varies between 1p and 12p per minute depending on the time of day for landline customers and between 5p and 40p per minute for mobiles.

By contrast a call on 01, 02 and 03 numbers costs up to 9p from a landline and between 8p and 40p per minute from a mobile.

In 2012 it emerged callers had spent £56million calling Government departments over the course of the year.

After widespread outrage, the Cabinet Office finally issued new guidance to Ministers in 2013 stating: “It is inappropriate for callers to pay substantial charges for accessing core public services, particularly for vulnerable and low income groups.”

But two years later there is still no timetable for phasing the rip-off numbers out.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman said work is opngoing to replace the helplines.

“DWP is already in the process of replacing all its 0845 number prefixes in use for its national helplines,” she said.

“We introduced 0345 numbers for DWP national helpline service numbers – this is alongside an 0845 option, which can currently be cheaper for some dependent on their telephony provider.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. lassy permalink
    March 23, 2015 11:13 am

    Reblogged this on Will the real reality please stand up!.

  2. March 23, 2015 2:54 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Justin Fayre permalink
    March 24, 2015 12:28 pm

    So let’s get this straight.
    Benefit seekers including the most vulnerable of an especially vulnerable group are actually contributing a large proportion of their ‘income’ to the Government.
    Let me guess, next thing is they’ll be laying staff, resulting in longer delays in answering and even more dosh for IDS’s gang.
    Oops sorry they’ve already gone and done that.
    IDS – Iain Duncan Smith not to be confused with
    IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    Although both great pain and suffering to poor unfortunate victims

  4. tony638 permalink
    August 18, 2015 11:39 am

    It is possible to call the ESA section ( and actually all government Departments) using an 0345 Number.

    The ESA Number can be found at

    However simply swapping out 0845 for 0345 will ensure that people using mobiles will not incur addiational call charges for 0345 numbers

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