An employee of Jobcentre Plus in Derby has defended Universal Credit and says the controversial benefit system is brilliant.

Harj Sahota says it was a success and he wishes it was introduced earlier.

After working with jobseekers for 19 years, Mr. Sahota experienced first-hand the introduction of universal credit in 2017.

Since then, it has attracted critics at both local and national levels.

Derbyshire Live recently published a story about how some people at Universal Credit had to live on just £ 2 a day.

Another criticism of Universal Credit is that claims need to be made online, creating problems for many without access to the Internet.

In the opinion of 39-year-old Mr Sahota, however, the negative effects of universal credit do not outweigh the positive ones.

He said, "I think it's awesome and I wish they had done that before.

Raj has been working for the DWP for 19 years
Harj Sahota has been working for the DWP for 19 years

"Prior to Universal Credit, there was not the same bond customers used to have for our colleagues, and much of our work is income support.

"When a customer comes and applies, one of our trainers stays with them throughout the process, making it much more intimate.

"It used to be not so, and now it has become so slimmer that it suits the customers, but also ourselves, to find out what they need."

Everything that has to do with Universal Credit is done online. In this way coaches can find at the push of a button the providers that are needed for finding work or training.

All income support benefits are grouped together, and the system automatically determines how much someone is entitled to.

Who can get a universal loan?

Whether you can apply for Universal Credit depends on your circumstances and where you live.

Your circumstances

You can apply for a universal loan if you have a low income or are unemployed.

As a rule, you can only apply for a universal loan if you are 18 or older. However, some people aged 16 or 17 may receive it depending on their circumstances.

And you usually can not apply for universal credit if you are in full-time education or training, but people with certain circumstances can still apply.

For more information, see the detailed eligibility and universal credits and student guides.

You can use a performance calculator to understand what services you could get. You will be asked to provide information about your circumstances and to know what benefits you may be able to apply. One of them could be Universal Credit.

Where you live

The Citizens Advice Creditor will let you know if you live in an area where you can apply for Universal Credit. This link takes you to the Citizens Advice website.

The universal loan will be phased in. Even if you can not claim it now, it may be available in your region in the future.

If you want to claim Universal Credit, visit gov.uk/universal-credit

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland

What Universal Credit replaces

Universal loan replaces:

  • Tax credit for children
  • housing benefit
  • social care
  • Income-related unemployment benefit (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support money (ESA)
  • tax credit

If you are already using these benefits or tax credits, you do not need to do anything now.

The Ministry of Labor and Pensions will contact you before any changes to your benefits or tax credits occur.

If you receive these benefits or tax credits and your circumstances change to make you claim a new one of these benefits, you will need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

If you receive any of these benefits or tax credits, they will expire if you make a Universal Credit claim.

If you receive tax credits, you can still apply for universal credit, depending on your circumstances. However, if you avail yourself of all the advantages that are being replaced by universal credit, the application will be discontinued.

Despite the difficulties some people have faced, Mr. Sahota has seen more success stories than ever since the introduction of universal credit.

Derbyshire Live talked to Anis Aslam, a Derby-based work trainer, who talked to a mother who was unemployed for a while.

He said, "She came to me after being unemployed for a while, but she emphasized for me that she wanted a job to take care of her child.

"I noticed that there is a childcare course at the city council, so she participated. After a while, she decided to run her own childcare business.

"It's great to know that we can help someone to reach this stage in their lives, she has been unemployed for a long time, but has recovered a lot."

Mr. Sahota said he shares such success stories with his colleagues every Friday, and since the launch of Universal Credit, he believes their numbers have increased.

He said, "The good thing about Universal Credit is that it helps people understand the world of work.

"Since it was brought in, I've seen so many people come through these doors and go to work.

"That's our goal, and Universal Credit has made sure that much more happens."

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More stories about Universal Credit

But like any system, it is not without defects. Mr. Sahota acknowledges that there are problems because Universal Credit is managed online.

He was asked which area of ​​the Universal Loan he needed to improve, and he pointed out that for some people the online system may be difficult.

He said, "We will strive to connect with each person and set them up with Universal Credit where we can.

"Sometimes this may take a while, but we can refer you to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, which can help.

"But the next one is four miles away and I know that people do not always have the money or the resources to get there, so we'll help them where we can."

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