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What is a Legal Benefit?

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  • Written By: M. Lupica
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2016
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A legal benefit is a general term that indicates a right granted by the government for the benefit of its citizens. The term can refer to any number of rights, though the one defining characteristic is that it is either granted or ratified by the authority of the government. Legal benefit often refers to the entitlement benefits, such as welfare or unemployment insurance. It may also refer to various fundamental rights or civil liberties. Additionally, legal benefit could refer to the rights conferred to a party under a contract, as valid contracts are enforceable in a court of law.

In many nations, there are certain entitlement benefits a government grants to its citizens. One such common benefit is unemployment insurance, which allows a person who paid into an unemployment insurance pool through an automatic regular deduction from their paycheck to temporarily collect a fixed sum from the government in the event he or she loses a job. In the United States, there is a social security system designed to support citizens through their retirement through regular payments when they reach a certain age. Both of these examples illustrate financial legal rights directly granted by the government under certain circumstances.

Legal benefits may also refer to the fundamental rights or civil liberties that a government grants its citizens through its constitution. For example, the rights to marry, to vote, and to freely practice religion are common fundamental legal rights granted by governments to their citizens. In the event that a law is put in place that eliminates or abridges these rights, then a citizen who is affected may assert his or her legal right under the nation’s constitution and have the law struck down.

Another way that a person may be granted a legal benefit is through operation of a contract. A valid contract grants legal benefits and responsibilities to both parties to the agreement that are enforceable in a court of law. Contracts that are enforceable by a court of law are by extension being enforced by the government and as such contain legal benefits. For instance, an agreement between two private parties in which one performs a service for a fee grants a legal benefit of a right to a sum of money to one party and a legal benefit of a right to the service described in the agreement to the other party.

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