Universal Credit customer telephone lines will be the first to become Freephone in November.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Gauke said:
We know that many people prefer to use online services and the vast majority of claims to Universal Credit are made online.
Everyone can check their statement and engage with their work coach through their online account and we have free wifi and computers in all our jobcentres.
Our work coaches support anyone who needs extra help with their online account but we want to make the process as burden free as possible, including for people who use our telephone service. That’s why we are making all our customer phone lines free to use.
The department will inform customers and partners of new Freephone numbers in advance of these changes.
Freephone numbers will be rolled out to all remaining DWP customer phone services by the end of the year. Further details will be released in due course.
Most claims to Universal Credit full service are made online (99%).
Applications for Universal Credit are made online and claimants then arrange their first appointment with their work coach over the phone. Currently this call is charged at local rates which are set by providers and are free for many people as part of their call package. If someone is concerned about the cost, they can request a free call back.
Universal Credit claimants can update any changes in circumstances, check on their payments and rearrange appointments 24 hours a day through their online journal.
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