Drug testing for assistance
POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 7:20pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 9:28pm
The majority of jobs today require you to take a drug test before they hire you. Some viewers have emailed us asking why Texans receiving government assistance aren't tested?
When KETK saw this question from the viewers, we wanted to know what is required in order for someone to receive assistance? People who are applying for public assistance must fill out an application which includes general information such as proof of citizenship, age and income.
Once you turn that portion of the application in, the Department of Human Services performs an extensive background search to make sure the information is correct. Almost everything is checked before approving someone for assistance. The only thing that seems to be left out is the drug test.
So why doesn't Texas require drug testing? Texas Health and Human Services official, Stephanie Goodman, told us a person with a felony drug conviction can't get food stamps or temporary assistance for needy families.
In a statement she also told us this about random drug testing: "It would need to be approved by Congress or the Texas Legislature. If it was approved, the state would need the additional funding to pay for it."
The 1996 Welfare Reform Act allows states to require drug testing for anyone receiving assistance. According to the Washington Post, a few states such as Florida, New York and Virginia have adopted a more reserved approach. But in October 1999, Michigan became the first state to actually require drug testing of all welfare recipients. A lawsuit was filed within five weeks. The case eventually went to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled the practice unconstitutional.