Views #1093 | Advanced (C1)

The Dole

Rachel talks with Todd about 'the dole' in the UK and how people feel about it.

Todd: Hey Rachel, I heard that actually in Scotland if you don't have a job, that the government actually gives you money, like you don't have to work and you still get some money to live.

Rachel: Yeah, that's right. It's called unemployment benefits, or more casually it's just called the dole -- being on the dole. And you're only ... I think you're only entitled to it if you've actually been paying taxes for awhile and then you go on to something, a different kind of social welfare, but yeah.

Todd: So, if somebody's on the dole -- if somebody loses their job -- and then the government gives them money, how long can they be on the dole? Can they be on it indefinitely? Forever?

Rachel: I'm actually not sure. I was on the dole myself for a couple of weeks after I finished university. I know people complain about certain people in the country just never looking for work and being on the dole for years and years, but I don't think there's a lot of truth in that because when you're on the dole, you have to go to the employment office regularly for interviews and you have to show that you're looking for work, so I think maybe more of a problem is people on disability benefits. The government wants to reduce the number of people claiming disability because you can stay on that for years.

Todd: So for the people that are on the dole, is there like a negative stigma to it? Like if you tell somebody you're on the dole, do people look at you like you're a loser or something like that?

Rachel: It kind of depends on what social class you're coming from I think. Class is such a big thing in Britain still. I think for my parents generation, my father for example is quite middle-class and I think we would find it very shameful to be on the dole.

Todd: So, if you didn't have a job and you were on the dole, how would you feel? Would you feel funny about it, or would you feel like it was something that was coming to you for all the hard work you've done?

Rachel: I didn't feel bad about it at all. I felt like, "Yeah, this is great!" I paid taxes while I was working so it was kind of like getting the money back. It was sort a form of insurance I felt like.

Todd: So because you have the European Union, can somebody theoretically get on the dole in Scotland and then like go and move to Greece or Spain and just live on the dole in a cheaper country?

Rachel: I think that's not possible because you have to show up at the employment office on a regular basis so I think that would be impossible.

Todd: Oh, that's too bad because if you could, that's what I'd do.


Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

unemployment benefits

People without jobs can get unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits are ways the government helps people who do not have or can not find a job. Notice the following.

  1. My unemployment benefits finish at the end of the month.
  2. Many countries do not offer unemployment benefits.



Can they be on it indefinitely?

‘Indefinitely’ talks about a period of time with no end or deadline. Note the samples.

  1. If you fly in and out of the country every 90 days, you can stay indefinitely.
  2. The negotiations have been postponed indefinitely.

claim disability


They want to reduce the number of people claiming disability.

People who claim disability say they can’t work because of poor heath. Here are two examples.

  1. My father was injured at work. He’s been receiving disability payments for the last two months.
  2. Some people claim disability because they are too lazy to work.

negative stigma


Is there a negative stigma to being on the dole?

There is a ‘stigma’ about something when people think it is bad. Notice the following.

  1. In some countries, being a single mother carries a social stigma.
  2. In America, there is no longer a stigma to being divorced.

social class


It depends on your social class.

Traditionally, ‘class’ was defined as upper, which was rich and educated; middle, which were the workers; lower, who were the poorer and uneducated. Nowadays, those definitions are not so clear. Notice the samples.

  1. In some countries, social class remains an important cultural distinction.
  2. Let’s be honest; these days, people with enough money can buy social class.

on a regular basis

You must show up on a regular basis.

‘On a regular basis’ simply means to do something often, at a set time or day. Notice the following.

  1. It’s good to visit the dentist on a regular basis.
  2. I run a virus scan on a regular basis.

Vocabulary Quiz

unemployment • indefinitely • disability
stigma • social class
  1. That store will be closed .
  2. Because he hurt his back at work he gets .
  3. He lost his job so he gets .
  4. The of welfare is negative.
  5. My country has three levels of .
Answer the following questions about the interview.

More Lessons

#1095 French Restaurant
1095 French Restaurant
Mark shares his favorite place to have a nice meal.

#1094 Welfare
1094 Welfare
Todd talks about welfare in the U.S.

#1093 The Dole
1093 The Dole
Rachel talks with Todd about 'the dole' in the U.K.

#1092 Daily Routine
1092 Daily Routine
Gareth talks about his family and work routine.

#1091 Change of Clothes
1091 Change of Clothes
Mark talks about his feeling about clothes.


Free Courses from ELLLO

One Minute English Videos

Free Courses from ELLLO