Drug Testing Welfare Recipients is “For The Children”


Is forcing a person applying for welfare to pay for and undergo testing to prove he or she isn’t taking drugs benefiting the applicants’ kids?† So claims Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is using the “won’t someone think of the children?” line as his latest justification for violating the personal rights of the poor.

Via the Florida Independent, the governor explained that his true impetus behind asking each welfare recipient to pay for a drug test out of pocket before allowing them to receive benefits was because it was in the best interest of the children. “Welfare is for the benefit of children and the money should go to the benefit of children,” he said. “This makes all the sense in the world.Ē

How exactly it benefits the children in families that are so poor they need government assistance to have to front what little money they do have to pay for a test to prove they aren’t on drugs is unclear.†† A drug test costs the applicant between $30 and $35 dollars, roughly the same amount that the applicant would get from the program in one week, money that while waiting for reimbursement could have been spent on bills, clothing or additional food for the children of the family.† But then again, this is the same governor who believes that forcing rape victims to look at an ultrasound before she has an abortion is in the woman’s best interest, too.

One group not buying the “for the children” song and dance?† The American Civil Liberties Union.† The ACLU has filed lawsuit on behalf of Navy veteran Luis Lebron, who refused the test claiming it violated his constitutional right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure.† Lebron said, “I served my country, Iím in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son.† Itís insulting and degrading that people think Iím using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education.Ē


Related Stories:

Floridaís Mandatory Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients Finds Few Fails

Welfare Recipients Have To Pay Out of Pocket For Mandatory Drug Tests In Florida

Florida Governor Wants to Drug Test All State Employees

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Robby C.
Past Member 6 years ago

"The state of Georgia demands voters to possess a picture id to vote. This makes it difficult for certain groups to vote, like little old grandmothers who never had a drivers license."

Actually, one can get a driver's license for picture ID only. That means, it looks like a license to drive, but is really not- it's for ID purposes only. This is how people w/suspended licenses, etc, can have picture ID for other purposes...

Linda Gilbert
Gregory Gilbert6 years ago

What I find offensive is this policy is about demonizing the poor and it is another example of selective law enforcement. It's like cops pulling people over for driving while black. By all means test people if there is any indication of law breaking. If the principles cited to rationalize testing of welfare recipients were applied evenly across the board they should test all automobile drivers. But that would be perceived as big government attacking the rights of the individual. Do it to "them" is good policy, do it to me is injustice.

The state of Georgia demands voters to possess a picture id to vote. This makes it difficult for certain groups to vote, like little old grandmothers who never had a drivers license. The rational is to prevent voter fraud. In practice it excludes far more legitimate voters (who tend to vote democratic) than the rare fraudulent voter. Georgia does make an exception for absentee voters who tend to vote republican.

The republicans never miss a chance to work the system to put the screws into anyone who doesn't vote for them as long as they can come up with a good cover story.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Frank Hanline
Frank Hanline6 years ago

I think all politicians need to get drug tested too, randomly. The higher you're up in government, the more you and your family should get drug tested.

Test them first

Rebecca Odle
Rebecca Noiseux6 years ago

why shouldn't the people who are on welfare get drug tested. I think they should. There are jobs who do testing what is the difference. I live in a community where there are people who have welfare, do drugs and sit on their butts...where I work my butt off to pay for them. No I don't think its fair that there are jobs out there, not the most glamorous, but jobs. Flip burgers, get temp jobs, just get off your butts so I don't have to support you also.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Being poor enough to qualify and to apply for welfare is NOT a crime. To treat one as so is unreasonable. So, unless there is reasonable doubt to test, it shouldn't be a prerequisite. Change it either to random tests or only for those who are suspected to be.

If they are found positive for (non-prescription) drugs, all welfare should be terminated on the spot.

Kim W.
Kim W6 years ago

So what happens to the kids if the parents/guardians get a positive on the drug test?

Zoe B.
Zoe B6 years ago

Ange, it's pretty easy to apply for jobseekers, or disability, in any state of any country.

Brianna K.
Past Member 6 years ago

Personally I would rather see surgeons, pilots, and bus drivers having to do drug tests.

Ange Petrovic
Angelina P6 years ago

I don't know if you realize that no one can live on government hand-outs. You must be in the position and actually try to live and pay rent and feed yourself and your child or children. If you scam the system and don't need it and it is just a scam on the part of the really bad people that do this, then yes. It depends on what state you live in just how much a person can obtain from the state. In FL, you cannot get much at all. It's not worth the humiliation (in the old days you had to pay for your food at the cashiers with STAMPS). But, these are hard times, extremely hard times, my friends. People need a little bit of help. The food costs are very high and rents are not cheap either. It's really hard and unless you "Walk a Mile" in another's shoes, you don't know what it' like to be that person. As far as drug testing a welfare recipient, I don't know if you know this, but a veteran drug user can get around that too. They know all of the tricks. So, my friends, that will not work if someone wants to rip us off. I think a limited time on a Federal Program or a State Program is the answer....no handouts for years and years. And, why are the applications for Food Stamps in three different languages: English, Spanish and Creole? If you can't read the application in English or have someone help you to read it, then, you don't get the Food Stamps!!