Should Welfare Recipients Have To Prove They Aren’t On Drugs?

Should welfare recipients be required to prove that they are not doing drugs in order to receive financial benefits for themselves and their families?  A new bill being debated in Missouri may require just that.

Via Women’sENews:

The Missouri State Senate is set to consider a bill that would allow welfare program administrators to order drug tests, a practice that a leading anti-poverty group has denounced as costly and counterproductive. 

The bill, which passed the House in late January, says administrators can require a drug test if they suspect drug use by a recipient of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, known as TANF, the welfare program that primarily assists single women and their children.

The bill was modified Feb. 7 by a Senate committee to say that the benefits will be distributed to a third party to allocate the family expenses to help the children, as long as a recipient who tests positive agrees to participate in a drug rehabilitation program.

The House version removed the parent’s portion of the money for a year. Such proposed laws are popular within the states but none has passed constitutional muster.

Currently in Missouri, families of three can receive no more than $292 a month from TANF, which provides job opportunities and minimal, time-limited amounts of money.

“Taxpayers feel strongly that they do not want their hard-earned dollars being used to subsidize illegal activities,” bill sponsor Missouri Rep. Ellen Brandom was quoted as saying in an article by the Missouri News Horizon.

On Feb. 3 analysts at CLASP–the Center for Law and Social Policy)–a Washington, D.C.-based anti-poverty group, reissued an updated report from 2009 outlining their opposition to drug testing for TANF recipients.

The authors rebut the idea that drug testing would save tax dollars. They says the tests–which don’t identify alcohol or prescription drug use–would each cost between $35 to $76 and secondary testing would be needed to rule out false positives.

These are the types of red meat conservative pandering acts that are meant solely to degrade the poor and enthuse Republican voters.  Much like the fabled welfare queens of the 80′s, the mythic woman who had child after child to up her payment while driving around in a Cadillac, the Republican party continues to evoke the image of the lazy, unworthy poor who are stealing your hard earned money so they don’t have to work.

State after state claims deficits and budget shortfalls, yet if given the chance the GOP proves yet again that they are more than willing to spend between $70 and $150 to attempt to rule out making a payment of at most less than $300.  Even if the testing were constitutional, it shows that the true focus of the party is to find ways to make cuts to the lowest class.

On the bright side, with the way the GOP is dismantling health care, drug testing may be the closest some of these people will come to ever receiving medical care.  It’s Republican priorities at their finest.

wikimedia commons


Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

Talk about mean-spirited!

Raven S.
Katja S7 years ago

Of course not.
OK, I do not want my hard-earned cash going on illegal drugs, but I'll tell you another thing, I do not want my hard earned cash going on alcohol, cigarettes or junk food either, seeing as all of these are also highly addictive, unnecessary for survival and bad for your health. You cannot pick and choose which addictions you are happy to fund.
Secondly, kicking these people off benefits is not going to help them. Just because someone has taken a drug at one point in time does not make them an addict. It will condemn people to the streets and will not only knock them down, but their innocent partners, children and anyone else they live with as well, as if their partner / parent looses their benefits, they have no way of picking up the slack. It could condemn whole families to the gutter. Thirdly many people who are on drugs turn to them to escape from a stressful reality. Being under a lot of pressure does not breed an environment in which people will have the will power to attempt to break addictions. If you are under pressure, you turn to something that offers you comfort, and for some people, this is drugs. Once they have a job and things improve, then they are more likely to be able to get off the drugs and stay off them.

Eug F.
Eug F.7 years ago

Absolutely!! And lets take it a couple of steps further. Instead of just making welfare recipient's lives just miserable, lets make it a real hell. Why not, say, have a SWAT team break down the door of the recipients house (unless of course they live in an alley or under a bridge) and then reek havoc with a drug sniffing dog and then maybe shoot up the place just to show them whose boss. Or lets make these people jump through shitload of hoops for the pittance we give them just to make it really difficult...after all standing in line for hours just to kiss a social workers ass isnt much punishment. Lets see, did I mention lets make them have a letter for god as well so that we know theyre really destitute and not "working" the system, you know, like the cadillac queens or whatever senile Reagan or Bush referred to them as. Hey better yet, lets do a quasi draft and send them off to war-make them work for their welfare checks.....nothing satisfies like conditional giving!!!

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

They should also show why they can't work!
Young men and women should not receive welfare unless there is a REAL reason for them not to work. Having a child is not an excuse anymore.

Beth S.
Beth S7 years ago

What people don't realize is not every person that does drugs is necessarily an addict. In the field that I work in, Social Security disability, I see clients every day that smoke pot or drink as self medication for a mental illness. I don't see how taking food stamps away will help them. If we are talking about TANF benefits, maybe we need to concern ourselves w/ the children living w/ the parent doing the drugs rather than where our tax $ is going. Of course, if we are talking about an out and out addict, sure take the benefits away. But, I've not seen the government do a very good job distinguishing between an addict and one that self medicates.

Melissa S.
Melissa S.7 years ago

Ald Oro... Well said

Ald Oro
Al D7 years ago

our local, state, federal gov

is forcing workers at



and homeowners to pay pay pay

for obese people living in hotels to get a free check,

free food stamps

the "poor" who work the system

use drugs and sell drugs

and know how to live under the radar

get to vote in free housing

free education

free food stamps

free medical

the rest of us have to pay for

last i heard, that is slavery

wewho take care of our own health

dont smoke

dont eat meat, eggs, dairy


but we have to pay for the healthcare of smokers

who eat tons of eggs, meat, dairy

the sofa people that live out of the fast food drive-in

get cancer

when the cancer cluster golf course and green lawn

mono specie lawn people get cancer

when the people that live down wind and down stream from

agricultural areas
factory farms
golf courses,
HOA golf communities

get cancer clusters

the homeowner and taxpayer gets the bill

we the taxpayer gets the bill

ps, unions are exempted from paying for obamacare

bought and paid for the exemption

to the democratic party

Grace Adams
Grace A7 years ago

Instead of depriving drug addicts of all benefits--insist that they cooperate with treatment for their addiction. Treatment for substance abuse is one of the three health care items found to actually pay for themselves in future savings back in the 1980's. Before that insurance companies used to insist with a straight face that pregnancy was a blessed event and not anything a woman needed health care for. I forgot what their reason was for not covering immunizations--probably they just didn't believe in prevention at all.

Manuela B.
Manuela B7 years ago

I'm with Martha the polls must be wrong..... ONLY 58% think that recipients should prove that they are on drugs -what about the other 42% (they must be druggos).....

Jen H.
Jen H.7 years ago

I know from personal experience that if the U.A.s were to start, the ones getting high would slip out of the picture. They don't want any attention. It would then give more chances to those that are trying to help themselves. Being in poverty means that there is no other way, not that it is that much you have to bring home. YES!!! Do it. I think it would be a great investment and maybe save our country a little bit of money in the long run.