States Consider Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

AZ Central, March 1, 2012

Getting welfare and food stamps may become tougher as 23 states around the USA seek to adopt stricter laws that would require public aid recipients to take drug tests.

Florida law now requires all aid applicants to be drug tested while Arizona and Missouri require testing for anyone they “reasonably” suspect of illegal drug use.

For many, the proposed changes in states such as Wyoming, Illinois and Maryland will mean taking extra steps before receiving aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Resistance is likely to be heated, and the American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a challenge in Florida.

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Across the nation, lawmakers have proposed legislation to implement asset limits for food-stamp recipients, longer waiting periods for welfare benefits and mandatory substance abuse counseling for people receiving housing assistance.

Other ways welfare rules may change:

-At least 10 states are considering bills that would require photo identification for food stamps or electronic benefit cards.

-At least two states—Ohio and Tennessee—are considering restricting or eliminating eligibility for those convicted of drug felonies.

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