A major Universal Credit change affecting more than 200 people in Bolton started this week as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) moved claimants from tax credits and other ‘legacy’ benefits.

The DWP has admitted that changes could leave some claimants worse off as a result.

A total of 250 benefit claimants living in the borough will start to receive ‘migration notice letters’ from the DWP informing them they are required to move to Universal Credit

It comes as DWP recently announced plans to move all claimants of six benefits known as ‘legacy benefits’ over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024.

Bolton has been chosen as one of the first areas to start this new roll out.

The plans to move people over to Universal Credit will affect people claiming six types of support –

Child Tax Credit

Housing Benefit,

Income Support

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

Working Tax Credit and Income Related Employment and Support Allowance.

Not all legacy benefit claimants in Bolton will receive a letter requiring them to move to Universal Credit immediately, while a group of 250 will start to receive letters this week.

Those chosen will receive a letter explaining that they need to make a claim for Universal Credit within three months

A helpline – signposted on the letter claimants receive – will provide support to people to make their Universal Credit claim, and guidance will also be available online. Those in need of further support can also visit their local jobcentre.

In Bolton, these Jobcentres are situated in Great Moor Street, Blackhorse Street or Orlando Bridge.


Minister for Welfare Delivery, David Rutley said: “Universal Credit supported millions of people during the pandemic, and it continues to provide crucial financial support.

“It is an accessible and secure benefit supporting people’s needs from month to month and opens up tailored support, helping customers get and progress into work.”

Bolton is home to over 30,000 Universal Credit claimants and the, DWP says, the benefit provides those who receive it with one-to-one tailored support to help them into employment or to further their career.

People with a health condition or disability who cannot work could receive almost £350 a month on top of the Universal Credit standard allowance. Additional support remains available for those in need, including the Household Support Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.


As a result of the changes the DWP admitted nationally 900,000 UK households (35pc) will receive less. Meanwhile 1.4 million household could get more money while around 300,000 should see no change at all.

But in Bolton the DWP stressed everyone receiving a letter will have their entitlement to Universal Credit assessed against their current legacy benefits, with top up payments known as transitional protection available for eligible claimants whose entitlement would otherwise have been reduced because of the change. This ensures they receive the same entitlement as on the legacy system at the point they move to Universal Credit. These will continue unless their circumstances alter.


Claimants will receive a two-week run-on of their Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance. Those moving from Housing Benefit will receive a two-week transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment.

Those who do not receive a letter will continue to receive their current legacy benefits. However, people who think they would be better off on Universal Credit can check their entitlement for the benefit using an benefits calculator, with a guide on how to apply on the Understanding Universal Credit website.

The department is taking a phased approach, initially asking 250 households in Bolton and 250 households in Medway to make a claim to Universal Credit.