Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed people. In the United States, benefits are funded by a compulsory governmental insurance system, not taxes on individual citizens. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary.
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Unemployment benefits are generally given only to those registering as unemployed, and often on conditions ensuring that they seek work.
In British English unemployment benefits are also colloquially referred to as "the dole"; receiving benefits is informally called "being on the dole". "Dole" here is an archaic expression meaning "one's allotted portion", from the synonymous Old English word dāl.