In the course of my job, I speak to many people each day. One of the questions I ask each applicant is ‘what is your occupation?’.
An occupation in layman’s term means a person’s regular work or profession; job or principal activity.
I then ticked the box with each answer, either administration, professional, sales, retail, government, student, retired, labourer, others and of course not forgetting BENEFIT.
You would be surprised that at least a third of the people I spoke to most days told me their occupation is ‘benefit’.
In my birth country, no one would ever answer ‘benefit’ as an occupation. Since migrating to this new country which is now where I called home for the last ten years, I learned the common statement, ‘He (or she) is on the dole’ or I am on the benefit.
What does the term ‘living off the dole’ means?
When I was a fresh migrant, I had absolutely no idea what it meant but I heard it all the time.
The dole is money that people without jobs get from the government per fortnight. So if you’re living off the dole, you’re living off the money you get from the government.
Unemployment benefits are generally given only to those registering as unemployed, and often on conditions ensuring that they seek work and do not currently have a job. Often times, most of these recipients became too comfortable receiving money while doing nothing that they lack motivation to seriously look for a job (even though they may have Work Brokers from Work & Income Department helping them on the job search) because at the end of the day, once employed, they may net only a little more from the money they received each fortnight into their bank account after tax.
There are other benefits like living allowances and of course child support (which could be claimed from the one parent who worked hard and majority of his (or her) earnings go into the child support directly deducted through Inland Revenue and then into the bank account of the non working partner. There are so many young and single mothers here in this country. Their occupation is ‘full time mum’ or ‘home executive’. Although I support ‘full time mum’ as a worthy occupation, many of those are ‘full time mum’ living off the benefit which is totally unfair to the separated partner or the tax payers.
The government may be the source of provider of most benefits but where does the government get the money from? Obviously those hard working population pay taxes and indirectly a great percentage on those taxes are ploughed back into the government bank account to fund the benefit.
Another interesting thing to note is that when a child is orphaned or lost one parent, relatives fought hard for custody of that child. I used to feel so touched thinking how loving and caring they are to that poor child. If not for the government’s support on Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit, these children would probably end up in homes or given away. It’s too sad, too sensitive and too complicated a topic to blog about.
I am just touching the tip of the iceberg and this post came about from a request from an old friend of mine who has given her time, her love and effort traveling around Nigeria helping the poor.
This is an extract from an email I received from this friend
Do write something about those who take advantage of the benefits system…it’s all over different western countries like France and Uk and USA. I feel it’s not really fair to those struggling to pay taxes but have the dignity to work hard and chose not to go on the benefit. Those who took advantage may or may not realize what they are doing is wrong and most unfair.
What are your views on this topic?
All comments greatly appreciated.
The article is written from one person’s viewpoint and observation. It may or may not be a true reflection of the statistics of the country I used as an example. By and large, benefit is a form of government aid worldwide, only that it is more prevalent in some countries than others.