It is no secret that many states are working on mandating drug testing for welfare recipients. The consensus is that if a person has to pass a drug test at their job to make money, those that get it for free should have to pass them too. Learning how to pass a drug test then is very important! Otherwise they could lose their benefits.
Drug Testing on the Horizon in Georgia?
Georgia is just one of the several states that are working on drug testing for those that receive welfare benefits of cash or food stamps. The governor of Georgia will decide in May to approve or veto this option.
Florida Pilot Testing
At one point, Florida has a pilot program in place. However, they pulled it because they determined their number of clients that actually took drugs was very low. They were spending far too much money on the testing, with very few positive tests to make it financially effective to continue.
For quite some time, the concept of drug testing for welfare benefits has been controversial in Michigan. However, it seems that they continue to slowly move closer and closer to the decision to implement such a program. A bill has been approved that will establish a pilot testing program in three Michigan counties.
According to this bill, not all welfare recipients would be screened for drug use. Instead, employees would screen potential applicants. If it was believed they may be using based on the assessment tool, then they would be asked to submit to a drug test. If they refused, their application would be denied.
Those that tested positive would have to agree to a treatment plan for services in order to have their benefits approved. It isn’t known yet which three counties in Michigan will be selected for the pilot program. Funds in the amount of $500,000 have been put aside for the program which is designed to last for one year.
The Alabama State Senate has passed a bill to begin testing some welfare recipients. The stipulation here is that the applicant or someone in the household of the applicant must have a drug related conviction in the previous five years. The worry with this though is that it penalizes those that are already out there trying to do better. It also doesn’t prevent others from getting into legal trouble for drug use.
The program is designed to last for a period of three years. There is option for it to be renewed at the end of that timeframe. This is just one of several welfare reform bills that will change the current Alabama welfare system.
The Indiana Senate recently announced approval for drug testing some of their welfare recipients. However, these measures will also only apply to those that have had a previous drug conviction. The reason for this is that they way to make sure the money they give a family isn’t being used to purchase drugs.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is fighting this measure. They feel it is unconstitutional. They feel it is a violation of the 4th Amendment Rights of citizens. It will be interesting to see if mandated drug testing is successfully implemented or if it takes years to get through the red tape in Indiana.
For the time being, the Federal government has stated that drug testing welfare recipients is illegal. Yet there are plenty of states that are going to continue to push forward to get this in place. They are going to their local representatives, who in turn will put pressure on the Federal government.
Most of the states that want to mandate drug testing for welfare recipients also plan to have help in place for those that don’t pass. They plan to do more than just eliminate their assistance for food stamps and money. They are going to offer treatment programs that can be expensive. However, they feel it can help their clients to improve their life and to be able to eventually become self-sufficient.
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