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Require drug testing to receive welfare benefits

The purpose of welfare benefits is to help people who are down on their luck and in the process of searching for a new line of work. Providing money to individuals who are addicted to drugs is not a worthy cause. Welfare is supposed to be temporary and should only help those who are going to be able to one day secure another job/career in my opinion. States such as Texas are proposing legislation to have more strict over sight to make sure the money does not fall into the wrong hands.

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    Nov 24 2012: As you’ve said, “The purpose of welfare benefits is to help people who are down on their luck and in the process of searching for a new line of work.” I’d like to know where in this purpose it excludes people for activities outside of its scope.
    You've said, "Welfare is supposed to be temporary and should only help those who are going to be able to one day secure another job/career in my opinion." I believe your opinion is not based in fact but in a bias built on a strawman argument that characterizes all drug users as lazy and shiftless addicts unwilling to work.
    I'm sure if you were to know how many of the people that you interact with each day that use substances that have been made illegal or abuse prescription drugs that they have obtained legally you'd be absolutely stunned.

    Pre-approval drug testing is based on the premise that every applicant is a criminal.
    It's a belief that everyone that makes an application for the program is seen as potentially engaged in an alleged illegal activity that has no barring on the purpose of the program or reflects the needs of the person(s) making the application.
    This is accusing somebody of a crime before there is any evidence that they've done anything to support the accusation.
    What this is saying is, "If you apply for welfare you must be a drug addict, so you must prove that you're not or your application will be denied." That sure sounds like guilty before proven innocent.
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    Nov 20 2012: Why stop at drug use?
    How about gang members? If you or a member of your family is a gang member you can't receive welfare.
    Let's stop pedophiles from getting welfare. I'd like to see them starve.
    No convicted murderers receiving welfare.
    Child beaters, nope you don't get any.
    If they live in a state that has banned gay unions, gays don't get welfare.
    You don't go to church, no welfare.
    Foreigners can't get welfare because they're not from here.
    If you're fat you could use to lose a few pounds, come back when you're thinner.
    Tattoos, you must be irresponsible, tough luck and good bye.
    You look like an illegal alien, go away.
    You're not American/Texan/Whatever enough. You have to take and sign an Oath of Loyalty before you can get welfare.
    You're going to die anyway, why waste taxpayers money on you?

    You propose a slippery slope that can justify even the most trivial reason for denying welfare to anyone.
    I can not support this.
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    Gail .

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    Nov 19 2012: It is an expensive solution in search of a problem. It's just another Republican racist hate-mongering idea.

    Gov Rick Perry said that "experience with similar legislation in other states says implementing the program will cost taxpayers more than they will save. For starters, millions of dollars that could go to Texans in need, or be used for other purposes, will be shifted to whichever company the state hires to conduct the testing."

    Florida is one state where a drug-testing law passed. Before a federal judge temporarily stopped the law’s implementation to consider its Fourth Amendment constitutionality, 4,086 welfare applicants had been tested. Only 108 — 2.6 percent — tested positive for drug use (most for marijuana).

    The cost factor doesn't even cover the follow-up policing, enforcing, and justice/prison aspect of the case. 80% of our prisoners are in jail for simple non-violent posession of a few grams of pot. At nearly 50k per prisoner plus the cost of foster care for the children left behind, and the social and fiscal cost that parentless children will impose on us as they face a dire future, we should all take notice. Foster care is more expensive than welfare. Prison is more expensive than helping a child become a responsible part of our society. A child with a parent in jail or has been in jail is far more likely to face jail - be it as a teen or adult.

    We already have more people in jail for non-violent crimes than most of the world combined - for all crimes.

    This is just another racist jab, based on the perception that most blacks are drug-using welfare recipients, when the facts are very different. What do you do with the hungry children when those 2.6% of welfare recipients are denied money for food or in jail for having smoked a joint?

    Those who support this type of legislation haven't thought it through an more than those who thought that the push to voter suppression would win them an election rather than cost them one.
  • Nov 19 2012: Seriously, Why stop there?

    To receive ANY benefit from the government, a citizen should have to sign a paper agreeing to random drug tests at any time.. This should certainly include getting a driver's licence, which the courts have said is a privilege, not a right. Other benefits where this would apply are social security, marriage license, business license, school registration, college loans and grants, research grants, all government jobs and contractors, etc. We could have nearly universal drug testing.

    We have been having a war on drugs while granting all sorts of benefits to the enemy. This is an approach to curbing drug abuse that might have an actual chance of working. At the very least it would impress young people that this country is serious about the problem. Our current approach of sending military teams to Columbia while condoning the use of drugs at home is unethical, ineffective and hypocritical.
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    Nov 19 2012: two observations:

    1. there is no drug test for addiction. consumption is not addiction
    2. okay, but then i don't want to pay for social security
  • Steve C

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    Nov 19 2012: and save a few hundred bucks? ...and the bankers get Trillions upon Trillions. Seems to me, the money is already in the wrong hands.
  • Nov 19 2012: I also agree with you, but will there be unintended consequences?

    Will these people become homeless and overburden our shelters, then we would feed them 24/7, provide shelter to them, and take liability for their healthcare. If they live on the street, would you mind if they begged for money, urinated, and littered our streets? How much does it cost to repair, police, and clean our neighborhood because of homelessness?

    So what if they don't turn homeless. Do they have to steal their neighbors property more often to buy food, shelter, drugs, and gamble? Will some turn to prostitution and spread disease and maybe have a child that tax payers pay for the birth, diapers, formula and educate them for 18 years.

    If we require Drug Testing to receive Welfare Benefits, then they will find the drugs another way. We should be giving them drug and alcohol counseling at the least.

    I don't know the answers. I agree with your opinion and I know their is a way to offer Welfare benefits to drug-free individuals. We just have to find a solution.
  • Nov 21 2012: What drugs would you like me to test?
    I've tested just about all of them, and they're all pretty good.
    Now, where's my check?

    No one, absolutely no one, gets through without some welfare in some form or another.
    From a rich or not so rich, mom and dad.
    A stranger, or how about those few heroes (in my mind), who actually do work in and for the government, who do all they can to ensure it works for those for whom it is supposed to work? The people. Sometimes.
    Which people? All of them. but only a few in reality, sometimes.
    How many wars are happening right now in the world?
    How many poor people became soldiers for a paycheck and were then sent to kill other poor people?
    More than there should be.
    But ignore the Pentagon not being able to account for 2.3 trillion dollars in spending, THE DAY BEFORE 9/11!!!!!
    That ensured that the very next day, it would be forgotten and virtually not discussed or looked into.
    THAT is your welfare system on display, but ignore that. Some little dude on the street is really hurting you and me big time, now aren't they? If you believe that you are either a Fascist or a brainwashed mental robot.

    You are Artificially Intelligent.
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    Nov 21 2012: You are on the wrong path.
    Re-examine the motives of your own father - and what you gave up to survive him.
    Only then will you be qualified to judge the plight of others.
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    Nov 20 2012: Let me know when this is happening so I can move somewhere else. All those drug addicts being kicked off social security will just start robbing your houses to get the money for drugs like they used to.A heroin or crack addict doesn't stop using because the lose their income. They just look for another source.
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    Nov 19 2012: This is not unreasonable. I have to take a drug test in order to support the welfare they are receiving. Also I think this should be time limited so as to not inspire generational welfare families as we have now.
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    Nov 19 2012: This is a good idea. There is too much talk about 'rights' and little is usually said about 'responsibilities'.
    Government should not fund an individual's addiction.
  • Nov 19 2012: "Require drug testing to receive welfare benefits"

    Sure, but include tests for alcohol, painkillers and tobacco and expand the testing to politicians (they get a salary and health care from the government) as well as executives at corporations that get subsidies and tax credits, plus recipients of medicare and retirement social security. Then see how long this ridiculous idea of drug testing lasts...
    • Nov 21 2012: I think the idea of drug testing welfare recipients is a valid one. Your argument for testing politicians and executives is the ridiculous one.

      There is a difference between a welfare payment for the unemployed, and a salary for a working politician/company executive.

      And why should the test include alcohol, painkillers, tobacco, all of which are legal and taxable? If they choose to spend their welfare benefit on that, so be it, the tax dollars will flow back to the government. Illicit drugs on the other hand - if they were wasting tax dollars on illegal substances, then they should be banned from receiving any welfare payment.
      • Nov 21 2012: An addiction to alcohol or painkillers is a far more serious problem than smoking weed in the weekend, the latter won't affect your chances of finding and holding on to work. Taxes never cover the full purchase price of anything. Krisztian Pinter already pointed out a test doesn't show if it's a habit or not (you can't just assume it's a habit when it's not heroine, speed or crack). TED Lover pointed out how this idea singles out minorities and democratic constituencies (white people use alcohol and painkillers as drugs, users of social security are exempt eventhough most of them get more money than they paid into the system and you can bet your ass the next move is to take voting rights away from everyone who ever tested postive for weed, because the republicans know they can't win a fair election) and that it'll probably cost more than it will save because most people don't use illegal drugs.
        • Nov 23 2012: wait, so now you are comparing an alcohol/painkiller addict to an occasional pot smoker? that's not a very valid argument.

          And I don't understand the point you make about taxes never covering the full purchase price of anything. I know they never do - that wasn't my point. The point is that tax dollars flow back to the government, indirectly funding said welfare payments. There is no tax earned on illegal substances, so giving welfare paymentsw to those users is truly a waste.
  • Nov 19 2012: I definitely agree with this. Tax paying citizens shouldn't have to see the money set aside for welfare be places in the hands of someone who is abusing the system. Especially by using drugs, and not really attempting to better there lives. We shouldn't have to pay for others to live. Anyway, isn't this an issue being fast tracked in a lot of states right now?
  • Nov 19 2012: This is a very good idea. I don't think that people should just get a free handout unless it is really justified; however, any addiction is considered an 'illness' and 'disease' and that disease must be treated to break the vicious cycle of addiction. I do think that these incentives could be provided if those unfortunates were provided resources to recover. Many recovery facilities cost thousands of dollars, and obviously they do not have that kind of money. The vicious cycle must be broken for the people with the disease of addiction. It is not as easy as saying 'just stop', be cause it is a disease and a disease doesn't cure itself.
  • Nov 19 2012: I have to agree with what you have proposed, but also feel that this would be an extra expense for tax payers in local communities.
  • Nov 19 2012: I think this is a no-brainer and I think it is ridiculous that it is not already in place to have mandatory drug testing for welfare benefits. I think Welfare should exist, however I think it should only be given to people who deserve it - those who can be effective people in the workforce and can benefit society but they can't find a job or they are disabled. Obviously the government won't screen everybody on an individual basis, but an easy way to weed out the people abusing Welfare is to find the drug users and addicts. I think it is asinine that those who receive Welfare do not have to be drug testing. The only reason that I can think of why it would not be done is cost.
  • Nov 19 2012: Robert,
    I completely agree with this idea. I believe that the Federal Aid program is highly abused and taken advantage of. There should definitely be required drug testing for all who receive these benefits. These are tax dollars being wasted when the money could be used for people who really need it or other things that the country needs besides people who just want a free meal ticket.
  • Nov 19 2012: I agree with you and the Texas State Legislature. The money should be governed more strictly and abusers of the system should no longer receive it after a certain amount of infractions have happened. What could be done is if a person has a drug addiction or possibly a gambling issue would be to have the funds available for the person to secure professional help. The funds could be controlled by an agency where they could disburse the funds to a professional counselor and the person seeking help would have food credit at the grocery store. Beer, wine and lottery tickets would not be covered by these tickets nor would they be able to sell anything to obtain cash to feed their addiction(s).
  • Nov 19 2012: I agree because without such strict laws people take advantage and keep collecting. I have met several people who have taken advantage and are drug users. It is disappointing that the rest of society has to support such people who are mooching off the working class to support their addictive needs.