Legalizing drug testing for welfare recipients. Kate Colella. Welfare History. Created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal. Programs resulted from the Great Depression and stock market crash in 1929.
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Legalizing drug testing for welfare recipients Kate Colella
Welfare History • Created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal. • Programs resulted from the Great Depression and stock market crash in 1929. • Created to help the poor who couldn’t control the predicament they were in. • Welfare programs are funded by the federal and state governments. • “Welfare Reform” has taken place over the last 60 years with Congress implementing changes.
Current welfare statistics • 12.8 million Americans receive welfare benefits. • This is about 4.1% of the population. • $131.9 billion is spent every year on the benefits not including food stamps and unemployment. • In 39 state people receiving welfare receive the equivalent of more than an $8.00 an hour job.
Beginning of drug testing legislation • States began proposing drug testing of those applying for welfare or already receiving benefits in 1996. • Citizens and lawmakers proposed the idea to make sure money isn’t being spent on drugs. • Supporters think drug testing will give those dealing with substance abuse incentive to better their lives. • Americans should not be forced to support illegal habits since they work hard for money.
Pros of welfare drug testing • People don’t work to earn the money, therefore they need to prove they aren’t using money for drugs instead of necessities. • A majority of employed citizens are required to pass a drug test so welfare should have same requirements. • Drug use would decrease and result in a more productive society. • Make sure taxpayer dollars aren’t spent on drugs. • Help children in families live in a safe environment. • Give recipients incentive to stop doing drugs in order to receive support money.
Cons of Welfare drug testing • Some argue drug testing violates the fourth amendment against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. • Opposition argues that if a parent fails a drug test they won’t receive the benefits, therefore negatively affecting the children. • Welfare agencies have the power to take kids out of drug infested environments, so don’t make the kids suffer more by not giving them assistance. • Claim testing targets the poor from society’s point of view as being drug addicts or parasites. • It would cost more money to conduct tests rather than saving money on the program.
Process for drug testing • In Utah, applicants for the program are required to complete a questionnaire about substance abuse. • Those who show a high possibility for abuse are tested. • If they fail the drug test they are required to enter a substance abuse program to receive treatment. • Saves money on drug tests and for the welfare program. • 250 people in Utah failed drug screenings and weren’t allowed to receive benefits for three months. • The money in the three months these people would have received amounted to $350,000 which could have been spent on illegal substances.
States Proposing & Passing legislation • 9 states passed legislation to perform drug tests on applicants and those receive benefits. They include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah. • 29 states proposed legislation in 2013 with Kansas and North Carolina following through with the passage.