welfare/social benefits

Iwonags

Senior Member
Hello,
is there any difference between the two terms?
I understand that welfare is government's protection towards the weakest ones, but doesn't the term social benefits include in a way the meaning of protection, too?
In what contexts would you use welfare and social benefits? For example, in light of new European economic governance, would we speak of reducing spending on social benefits or on welfare?
Thank you all.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I'd say that "social benefits" is a broader term than "welfare benefits". Here in the U.S., people would probably understand "welfare benefits" to mean "welfare checks/payments", those payments that people who qualify for welfare receive from state governments. "Social benefits" could mean anything that benefits society. Providing and funding public parks is a "social benefit".
     

    Iwonags

    Senior Member
    OK, I get it right then. In the current situation we might speak of both: cutting welfare (if the question is the dole for example) or cutting social benefits, as family benefit for example.
    Is it the idea?
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    OK, I get it right then. In the current situation we might speak of both: cutting welfare (if the question is the dole for example) or cutting social benefits, as family benefit for example.
    Is it the idea?
    Welfare is only one of the "social benefits" handed out by government. They would also include such things food stamps, rent subsidies, free medical care, and a host of other programs.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I think there could be confusion in terms here because of wording used in different countries. I would agree with what Owlman said as being correct in US terms.

    Our "welfare" is, I think, what might be called "the dole" in some other places. You use the term "family benefit"; I don't know what that means, but it sounds as if it might be some form of welfare. Your "social benefits" may possibly include other government payments that are not welfare, such as our Medicare. And Owlman used "social benefit" in a broader sense, with which I agree, to mean benefit to society as a whole, such as providing parks and other recreation areas.
     

    Iwonags

    Senior Member
    OK, let's see: here in Europe, social benefits may be what EVERYONE takes advantage of but what you directly do not pay for (health service, education, parks, etc.-family benefit is what you get from the government for having children, well, not here in Spain, but in France and Germany for example). Might welfare be only direct payments, a more narrow sense of social benefits to ONLY those really disadvantaged then?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think your understanding is pretty good concerning the use of "welfare" in the U.S., Iwonags. "Welfare" would refer to direct payments from state governments to people who qualify for them. For instance, people can receive "food stamps" and other assistance from state governments if those people meet certain criteria for "low income". Other types of entitlements, benefits, etc. are not called "welfare", but "social security benefits", "funding for public projects", etc.
     

    fiveminuterush

    New Member
    English
    Coming from the UK, I would rarely use the word "welfare". I understand it as the American term for what we would call unemployment benefit (though any Americans are welcome to correct me on this!) I would talk about Government reducing spending on public services, which in the UK would mean education, the NHS (our healthcare system), the emergency services etc.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    We don't use the word "welfare" for "unemployment benefits", Fiveminuterush. We call them "unemployment benefits".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Well, Iwonags, I can't speak for the Britons, but I'd like to remind you that we use many different terms for various types of "public spending", "social benefits", etc.

    "Welfare" is also considered a negative word by many speakers here in the U.S. It used to appear frequently in speeches made by politicians who disliked the idea of state or federal governments making any payments to the poor. I don't hear it that much these days when I listen to congressional debates, etc.
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    We don't use the word "welfare" for "unemployment benefits", Fiveminuterush. We call them "unemployment benefits".
    I think you meant to say that in the US we call it "unemployment insurance," which is a euphemism for a payroll tax and a legislated benefit.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think you meant to say that in the US we call it "unemployment insurance," which is a euphemism for a payroll tax and a legislated benefit.
    Unemployment insurance is what your employer pays. When you become unemployed, you collect unemployment benefits.
     

    jokaec

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Hong Kong
    She got two job offer with similar salary. She is comparing the "welfare" or "benefits" including vacation days, matenity leave days and retirement plan from these two companies.


    Are they both correct? If so, which is better in this situation? Thank you.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    She got two job offers with similar salaries. She is comparing the "welfare" or "benefits" including vacation days, maternity leave and retirement plans from these two companies.


    Are they both correct? If so, which is better in this situation? Thank you.
    "Benefits" is correct in this sentence, "welfare" is not.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Can I know why "welfare" is not correct in this situation? Thank you.
    It doesn't have the correct meaning. It's not even close to being correct. (Will you tell me? is "May I know...?" not "Can I know...?" and that's very formal.)
    benefit - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    :tick: 1 something advantageous or good:

    welfare - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    :cross: 1 health, happiness, and prosperity; well-being.
    :cross: 2 [Government] assistance given by government to those in need; public relief:
     

    jokaec

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Hong Kong
    Thank you Myridon. Now I know “welfare” is related to government assitance when talking about benefits.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    "Social benefits" is a very wide-ranging concept in the British context. It relates not only to welfare payments (rarely) but also to other government payments (e.g. state pension), to private work-related payments (a company pension, paid holiday...) and to intangibles like convenient hours, friendly workmates, etc. To an economist, social benefit includes all the advantages received by society from an activity.

    It does not have the narrow meaning of its equivalents in e.g. France, where very often social = solely employment-related.
     
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