Government Benefits – Which Are OK?

Originally published in our Oct/Nov/Dec 2006 Newsletter.

Note: This article is a follow-up to “Who Butters Your Bread?”, which was posted July 15, 2009, and featured in our September 18, 2009 HELP Tree E-mail.

Our article, “Who Butters Your Bread?” presented a case against turning to the government for meeting family needs. That article stated, “We must choose to not ask for the government’s help whenever we have the opportunity to make that choice.” This present article clarifies and elaborates on that statement.

While it is true that seeking government entitlement and other assistance programs is not wise and good under most circumstances, there are a few programs that are clearly appropriate and acceptable.

People who are employed by or render services for the government should receive all the benefits, which are a part of their compensation package. For instance, the military person or fireman is not only due their wages but they also should receive other promised benefits for services rendered, in the form of retirement, health care, death benefits, etc.

Also, most employees and/or their employers (on behalf of the employee) pay directly into Workman’s Compensation or similar disability plan, and health insurance, life insurance, etc. Employees have a just claim to receive those benefits when eligible. The same can be said of paying directly into other specific programs such as Social Security and Medicare. This is expected and reasonable when the benefits are paid to the employee (or their spouse and dependents upon death) and are tied directly to the contributions paid into the program by the employee and/or their employer. We would add though, that it would be best to promote government policies that reduce our tax burden and protect the freedom of individuals to invest in private options for the needs that the government programs are attempting to meet.

On a related subject, one would also do well to get good financial counsel and not “put all of one’s eggs in one basket.” For example, due to inflation and the shrinking of the Social Security trust fund each year, it would be wise to establish other holdings (such as owning your own home) and savings and being out of debt as soon as possible.

There is much more which could be covered on this issue. However, in summary, a major Biblical principle to remember here is that one should be content with the fruits of his own labor and that which is voluntarily given to him. One must avoid desiring or receiving the fruits of another man’s labor, which is taken from another on an involuntary basis. (Ex. 20:17; Luke 3:14; Rom. 13:9; Phil. 4:11-13; I Tim. 6:8-10)