Yesterday I attended BenefitsCamp ], which was considering various ideas and creating option around the issues related to the UK benefits system.
I'll write elsewhere on my main topic of interest, as it has rather 'grown wings' and deserves a discussion site of its own to be better reviewed and taken forward, but one of the points I made during the event was about the name given to the field.
Often seen on job advertisements – or a part of an interview process – is that matter of salary. And alongside 'salary' comes 'benefits', which might be a subsidised canteen, service discounts, pension contributions, or regular bonus payments. And the bankers have made 'bonus' a very bad word indeed.
Benefits are too often perceived as just another name for 'extras'.
So what happens when that same word is applied to payments made to those unemployed, or disabled, or injured and temporarily unable to work? Parts of the media name these payments – which provide a roof over someone's head and allow them to eat, are pretty minimal in the first place – 'benefit' in a way which makes them sound both undeserved by the recipient, and some sort of penalty to the tax-payers who provide the funding to the government.
So the next question, clearly, is what such life-sustaining payments should be called instead.