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To think the term 'benefits' is misleading?

(29 Posts)
Pohtaytoh Mon 19-Oct-15 09:38:54

Firstly I know there has been a number of 'benefit' related threads over the past week so I apologise for adding another to the mix BUT the threads have got me thinking...

Surely the term 'benefits' is misleading and adds to the (often misguided) ill feeling some people have towards those who claim them. The word benefit would normally refer to something that you are getting over and above the norm- friends with benefits, work benefits (such as a bonus or private nedical care in addition to your normal salary). So when you talk about someone 'on benefits' the immediate feeling could be - hang on, this person is getting MORE than me. Even though many 'benefits' are received because there is some part of that persons life that prevents them from carrying on as normal
My friend always knew the career he wanted to follow, he left school and trained in this area for this specific role and then bam, he was hit by a metaphorical bus which changed the course of his life forever. He now receives a variety of benefits and he says to him they are more of a consolation prize, sort of like 'sorry you can't live your life as you planned, but here have this money and and try and get on with your life as best as you can'. That is just his feeling and apologies if that offends anyone but i share this as a way of trying to explain my opinion that for many who claim benefits, they aren't a benefit at all, just a way of helping them lead their lives as people uneffected by disability or misfortune (short or long term)

I realise there are a few who do claim and treat benefits as a benefit i know one myself who is thankfully currently being investigated but for the majority of people receiving them, they are a welcome help not a benefit.

So i guess my AIBU is am i being unreasonable to suggest there is a better term than benefits?

catfordbetty Mon 19-Oct-15 09:57:17

I think you've got a point - the word benefit does suggest profit or advantage and that's obviously not true for many people who get them. What would be a better word, do you think?

AliceInUnderpants Mon 19-Oct-15 09:59:37

Yes, I agree with you, but unsure of what else they could call it. The idea of the 'benefit culture' has gone so far now that even if they started terming it 'a consolation' it would still be scrutinised and judged sad

imwithspud Mon 19-Oct-15 10:00:58

I agree, I've never really thought about it. But the term 'on benefits' is an odd way to describe it. I suppose it's better than 'on handouts' though? I'm not sure how else you could describe it.

HeySoulSister Mon 19-Oct-15 10:03:43

'wages' according to a certain someone who lives nearby,he's always moaning he doesn't get 'paid' enough....... or 'i'll pay you back when I get paid'.....he's on jsa

multivac Mon 19-Oct-15 10:08:28

Just have a Universal Basic Income.

Why do 'we' (via the media) need to know whether it's paid by the state or an employer?

DisappointedOne Mon 19-Oct-15 10:08:37

Ear where in the world benefits are called "welfare" or "assistance".

imwithspud Mon 19-Oct-15 10:28:14

Welfare sounds much better. I agree multivac, the constant worry over where others get their money from is well, odd to say the least.

howabout Mon 19-Oct-15 10:37:37


Redefining and labelling different forms of state provision and contribution to the state really annoys me. To me state provided services (Health, education etc), benefits, tax credits, discounted rents, tax rebates and allowances are all the same thing. Similarly income tax, NI, corporation tax, CGT, IHT, VAT and Council tax are all the same to me.

We all contribute and we all benefit and the almost constant carping at each other from different income groups is very divisive.

Nottalotta Mon 19-Oct-15 10:40:34

Surely people do benefit from receiving them though? As opposed to not receiving them, and having no money at all. Most 'benefits' don't use that word anymore anyway do they? Child benefit. Council tax? Housing is LHA, allowance seems to be used more. Even that is changing though with DLA. going over to PIP. (thinking as I type ramble )

Pohtaytoh Mon 19-Oct-15 10:41:16

I hadn't really got that far catfordbetty grin, assistance makes sense i guess because the money is supposed to provide an assistance. Welfare works too

Not sure about 'Universal Basic Income' multivac simply because payments vary wildly dependant on individuals needs, and there are many who work and claim benefits (legally)

Pohtaytoh Mon 19-Oct-15 10:45:51

Quite right nottalotta, i'm referring really to the colloquial, catch all term benefits people often use when talking about people who receive them in a disparaging way.

Eg 'i'm fed up of all these lazy slackers sitting on their arse claiming benefits while i go out and work hard all day to support them'

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Mon 19-Oct-15 11:39:03

They're not called 'benefits' though.

They're called 'allowance', 'credits', 'payments', etc.

People choose to nickname them 'benefits'.

KatharineClifton Mon 19-Oct-15 12:11:37

Credit seems to be the new one, along with the notion that they are paid back after.

Mistigri Mon 19-Oct-15 12:15:13

We could go back to calling it "social security" I suppose - anything other than that awful American term "welfare".

EponasWildDaughter Mon 19-Oct-15 12:18:16

New name? ...

Top Up Necessary For Achieving Basic Standard Of Living (Under the Fucking Tories)


easy grin

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Mon 19-Oct-15 12:20:14

I like Tunfabsols.

Sounds good.

Are you going to phone the Daily Mail and tell them?

EponasWildDaughter Mon 19-Oct-15 12:22:52

I will if no one else wants to? grin

pigsDOfly Mon 19-Oct-15 12:29:48

I have a state pension and when they write to me they refer to the 'benefits' I'm receiving.

Always makes me feels a bit confused

Floggingmolly Mon 19-Oct-15 12:34:35

The "benefit" is surely the receipt of money without actually going out to work? Ridiculous to claim there's no actual benefit involved because the payments aren't equivalent to an actual salary (and actually, in a lot of cases they can be)

howabout Mon 19-Oct-15 13:42:51

Eponas I love your TUNFABSOL but fear if we live UFT for much longer the BSOL is no longer achievable under their definition of TUNF.

Flogging it depends on your definition of "work" and whether all "salaries" and "taxes" are set at appropriate levels.

HopefulAnxiety Mon 19-Oct-15 13:47:14

Hey but someone on JSA does get paid - what else should they call it? They get paid into their bank account - that doesn't mean they see them as wages, but how else are they supposed to describe getting paid?

StackladysMorphicResonator Mon 19-Oct-15 13:48:17

Mistigri, the word 'welfare' isn't a ghastly American invader, it's from Beveridge's Welfare State post-WWII.

HopefulAnxiety Mon 19-Oct-15 13:54:27

Flogging many people who work receive some kind of benefits, or retired people. Not just people who don't/can't work.

Pohtaytoh Mon 19-Oct-15 14:55:03

That's my point KingJoffrey - look at any of the past threads, look at any newspaper - how many titles and headlines refer to allowance, or credits - the commonly accepted umbrella term is benefits. Take Flogging's comment for example - an opinion that you are receiving something for nothing, when in reality if you are in receipt of an allowance/credit/payment it is because you are ultimately determined to be at a disadvantage to the average worker - having that payment/credit/allowance doesn't necessarily put you in a better position than the average joe. Calling it a benefit fuels the perception that it puts that person in a better position than the average joe.

Eponas TUNFABSOL (UFT) would only be a contender if you can explain how any government other than the Tories would manage to totally eradicate unemployment (and therefore JSA), make it law that all those who had a disability or had a relative with a disability were automatically paid a greater salary directly from their employer without help from the government even if they are only working 1 hour because their full time job is really as a carer, and I'm intrigued to learn how you propose any other government would avoid the need for a state pension? But I digress grin

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