The subject of this paper is to argue a position on drug testing for welfare. Research was conducted by reading and reviewing online references on the topic of drug testing when applying for welfare. The findings were that certain states in the United States are resorting to drug screening for welfare applications. This has caused complaints of the government being irrational and unconstitutional. In Conclusion it was found that drug testing for welfare would have a positive effect despite the high cost of drug screening welfare applicants.
Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants Over the past few years it has been brought to the public’s attention that drug screening for welfare recipients may become mandatory. Florida was among the first few states to consider the drug screen. In fact, under a new Florida law, any individual applying for the state benefit will undergo a proper drug screen at the applicant’s expense. If they test negative for illegal drugs, they remain eligible for benefits and the state reimburses them for the cost of the urinalysis.
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If they test positive for illegal drugs, they are denied welfare for one year, until they given the opportunity to take another test (Alvarez, 2012). It should be taken into consideration by all 50 states to enforce mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants. Mandatory drug screening for welfare is becoming a large trend across the United States. States such as Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Louisiana are creating laws similar to Florida’s. At the federal level, Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has introduced the Drug Free Families Act of 2011, which would require all 50 states to drug-test welfare applicants.
People on welfare shouldn’t be able to use their benefits to buy illegal drugs. “If you have enough money to be able to buy drugs,” says Colorado Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, “then you don’t need public assistance. ” (USA TODAY, 2012) Many states have since taken the idea in to strong consideration and it has caused strong debate on whether or not it would be a logical use of tax dollars. This has also caused an up roar with the public saying it is not constitutional. There is nowhere in the constitution that says anything about violation of privacy etc. ue to drug testing.
The only place that it could be considered part of the constitution that might be affected is the fourth amendment. It is common knowledge that in the constitution, the fourth amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Therefore it is not unreasonable to search if someone is giving you money. This would be a constitutional issue if the state wanted to just randomly test any American. But, it’s not about the state just testing anyone. This is about people who apply for welfare benefits or seek government jobs. Welfare is a great privilege made available for those who truly need it. Applicants are not forced to seek these benefits nor is it just a given right to receive them. With this being said, citizens should voluntarily accept certain conditions that will apply if approved.
For instance, if a bank was giving you a home or auto loan, it would be quite reasonable for them search your credit history. If tax payers are going to pay someone’s income then it would seem quite reasonable that the tax payers know they are not paying to support someone’s drug or alcohol addictions, while their children starve. This will help eliminate drug abusers who are trying to sell their benefits, such as food stamps for cash. One way of cutting down on the number of drug abusers on the welfare system is to do a mandatory drug test before they can receive any services.
The drug test of choice is currently a urinalysis, but other test are available. Drug test should be mandatory. No one is labeling anyone. So some people need to quit taking it personally. If an individual is not on drugs then it should not be a big deal, just take the test and move on. It is not an invasion of privacy; Americans have to take the drug test all the time for them to even get a job. If people are using the welfare benefits for illegal drugs then that in an invasion of tax payers pay checks, it is not fair to them.
It is a simple drug test, just take it. United States armed forces men and women are required to get drug tested whenever the military tells them to. They cannot say it violates the fourth Amendment because military men and women volunteer for that job. No one forces Americans into the military, just like no one forces someone to work at Wal-Mart where there is also mandatory drug testing. If a soldier does not want to be drug tested, he or she can refuse and just be removed from the military. It is that simple.
So why is it ok to drug test military service members on a regular basis, but it is unconstitutional to make sure that tax money is not going to a drug addict. Welfare recipients have the same choice as service members. If they wish to receive a welfare check and privileges, then take the test and get over it. The state of Florida has mandated that certain conditions be met, among those a drug-free lifestyle. There are two kinds of people on welfare: those that swallow their pride because they have to be on welfare for medical or psychological reasons and those that are on welfare because they have no pride and its free money.
No one is saying it is necessary to test everyone, just that people should reserve the right to test those that are on welfare for an extended period of time when there is no medical or psychological reason for them to be. When individuals can be randomly drug tested at school or work, why is it a problem to test people that are living off of the people getting drug tested in order to work? Is it not a bit odd that people have to get a drug test to get a job but they don’t have to get tested to earn a free living off of public money?
Individuals have to get a drug test to be hired for a civil service job. Welfare is essentially a civil service job where people do not actually have to do anything to get paid. It is as simple as that. One of the major issues that were discovered was the cost of the drug screening program. There are ways the government could fund the programs without raising taxes. For example, welfare recipients should be obligated to go through a medical screening to determine specifically what makes them disabled. It is unlikely that the majority of the welfare beneficiaries are 100 percent disabled.
Unless these people are bed ridden, they should be able to perform small tasks for a moderate amount of time week to week. Recipients who are healthy enough to perform basic tasks should also have to work at least 10-20 hours a week carrying out small tasks for the community or government. For instance, highway clean crews could be formed. Community action teams could also be brought together to clean up public areas such as state parks etc. There is many other minimum wage paying government jobs that states could fill with these welfare recipients.
States could also be creating training programs and use the welfare recipients to form teams to man the drug test stations. Drug screening kits cannot be that hard to create. They could be produced here, government made and this would also create more jobs. Mass produce testing kits for government use only and test everyone accordingly. Also once a welfare recipient tests positive for illegal substances, they should not be pampered with options such as drug rehab. These individuals should lose full or partial custody of their children if they cannot properly provide the necessary care for them.
Once an individual is deemed as an unfit parent due to drug related issues they should be disbanded or declared ineligible for any type of government aid. Circumstances would dictate the amount of time on a case by case basis. There are many pros and cons from both standpoints. The pros would be: less Welfare would be given out. Also, it would overall save money and make people more accountable for their lifestyle choices. Drug testing will reveal recipients who are wasting taxpayers’ money on drugs. Mandatory drug testing will require recipients to stay free of drug use, making them employable.
Passing this bill could minimize the purchase of illegal drugs, making our children and society overall a safer place to live. The purpose of the bill has been said to help better recipients and for employment purposes. Many people agree with drug testing and feel if welfare recipients choose to spend the money of taxpayers on drugs, they are taking advantage of the system and should not be entitled to benefits. Several states include other assistance programs, such as medical assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also formerly known as food stamps), child care, and other state-funded programs.
At least 12 states include language requiring testing only if there is reasonable cause to believe the person is using illegal substances. In most cases, if the applicant or recipient tests positive they are ineligible for benefits for a specified period of time or until they complete a substance abuse treatment program. The requirements often do not affect the eligibility of a child in a home where the parent tests positive, however, a family member or other designated person who has also passed a drug test is required to be the protective payee for the child’s benefits.
In conclusion it was found that drug testing for welfare is a good idea however, it has a long road to travel before it becomes an effective law. Despite the high cost of the program it would still be a strong factor in keeping the hard earned tax payers’ dollars out of the hands of drug abusers. This is a very strong debate across the United States and it is being said that the it is not saving the states any money. This is a large conflict that will take years to master a system that applicants cannot cheat while trying to keep it with in state budget. Things do not fall right into place and happen overnight.
It will take time but there is strong faith in the idea of keeping the tax dollars where they belong and out of the hands of drug abusers looking for a free ride. As far as the idea of this law being unconstitutional, these benefits are not a right they are a privilege. They taxpayers should have the final say in how their tax dollars are being spent. It would be unconstitutional to take away the right to vote on where they want their money spent. This is a topic that will be in strong debate for years to come and it should be made a law in all fifty states once a fool proof system is formed.
Show MoreThere is an ongoing debate over whether or not welfare recipients should be drug tested to receive the benefits. Both sides of the argument have merit. Those who oppose the idea of drug testing say that it is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, they claim that this law stereotypes and discriminates against those from low socioeconomic demographics, implying that because they are poor, they must be drug addicts. However, those who support the law note that its intended purpose is to ensure that taxpayer money is not being squandered on people who only plan to abuse this assistance. Only nine states so far have instituted drug testing of candidates for welfare assistance. This drug testing has proven to be…show more content…
In addition to the requirement for employment as a condition for a continuance of benefits, “states have proposed drug testing of applicants and recipients of public welfare benefits since federal welfare reform in 1996” (Finzel, 2014). While some states test recipients based upon suspicion of drug use, others choose to test all applicants.
In 1999, Michigan was the first state to implement a suspicionless drug testing policy as a condition for receiving welfare benefits. A district court struck down the policy on the Fourth Amendment grounds, and the Sixth Circuit court ultimately divided, upholding the district court’s injunction and putting a temporary stop to the policy. However, the constitutional issues remain undecided. (Goetzl, 2013, p. 1539)
Currently, politicians from twenty-four states have proposed legislation to institute drug testing as a condition for welfare determination, but only nine have formally approved it. Those states are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah (Finzel, 2014).
Supporters of this and similar legislation have proposed that applicants for welfare pay for the drug testing themselves. If test results are negative for drug use, the welfare applicant is fully reimbursed. The cost for drug testing varies, generally ranging from $30 to $40. Proponents of drug testing further propose that making the applicants pay for their