Georgia Welfare Recipients Will Have To Pass Drug Test



Almost six months after a federal judge halted similar legislation in Florida, the governor of Georgia has signed off on a new regulation that will require certain welfare recipients to pay for and pass a drug test.

Under the new law, applicants for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which as the name implies provides short-term support to low-income families with children, will be required to pay at least $17 to take a drug test. If the test comes back positive, benefits can be denied.

Citing concerns that the drug test requirement violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, the Southern Center for Human Rights has stated its intention to file a lawsuit if the legislation was approved, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

In his ruling in the Florida case, the judge pointed out that “if invoking an interest in preventing public funds from potentially being used to fund drug use were the only requirement to establish a special need, the State could impose drug testing as an eligibility requirement for every beneficiary of every government program.”

Deal signs welfare drug-testing mandate []


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  1. MutantMonkey says:

    This is such bullshit. Tax the poor more and make them succumb to screening methods that other people, who receive tax benefits, don’t have to.

    I have yet to hear a justifiable reason for this.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Justifiable to you, maybe.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        How is it justifiable to you then?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          There ARE coherent, logical arguments to made for this, but you might disagree with the logic.

          I’m not speaking of myself, only generally.

    • lettucefactory says:

      Right. This is where, I think, the “submerged state” becomes really important:

      The home mortgage interest deduction is a great example. This is a government program. It costs all of us money to give tax breaks to homeowners, the same way it costs all of us money to fund social programs for poor people. But nobody seriously argues that you should have to pee in a cup before you file your 1040 and take that tax deduction.

      • smartypants503 says:

        Two completely different things. If I have to explain the difference between accepting government assistance, paid for by taxpayers and deducting a little bit of interest because I financed the purchase of a home…I wouldn’t know where to begin.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          To an economist, they are both income transfers, and are both subsidies.

          • smartypants503 says:

            To a rational person one could see where the idea for a drug test would come from in regards to welfare, as well as see why it is assinie to compare it to the mortgage interest tax deduction.

    • Snoofin says:

      A lot of people on welfare are there BECAUSE they have a substance abuse problem with either drugs or alcohol, why should we allow them to use the money that YOU and I pay them.

      We should go even further and make sure they dont have more than 1 car and that it is older than 5 years old. Also they shouldnt have a cell phone beyond a basic phone only model, cable/satellite TV service, broadband internet, a TV (other than a older CRT model), and AC in their home (unless they have a medical condition that requires it). If they have money to afford that kind of stuff, then they should have spent it on necessities instead of luxuries.

      They should also be tested for tobacco since that is an expensive non-essential item and they should be forbidden to play the lottery.

      Basically, until they can take care of themselves then they should only receive the necessities.

      In addition they should be enrolled in a program where they do various things to earn their welfare such as picking up trash along the road, sweeping community sidewalks, pulling weeds in the public areas etc…

      Perhaps if all this would be enacted they would be more willing to get off their butts and find a job to support themselves with.

      Of course if they are getting assistance because of a disability then they wouldnt have to participate in the things that they cannot.

      • Naked-Gord-Program says:

        That’s quite the long ramble for something only your ultra right wing tea bagger buddies would support.

        But hey they can continue to hate on the poor who had their savings destroyed, jobs lost and homes foreclosed on while people like you continue to defend and advocate for the ruling class who destroyed the economy and oppressed the poor.

        All it does is to prove that the Democrats/Obama need to go further left to destroy monsters like you from society. All it does to prove is that Obama, healthcare aside, should have used his super majority to push through a more progressive agenda and if he did he’d have bigger backing from the progressive base.

        Hopefully the Democrats will learn from this and learn from how the right wing gains from catering to the extremist base like you. Hopefully then the Democrats will do the same and hold the corporate welfare crowd to account and take them down.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Georgia is really humid. You need some kind of AC just to keep the mold out of your house.

      • wojonet says:

        People probably should probably take a drug test for using public roads. I don’t want my tax dollars going to a resource drug dealers use to transport drugs!!

        Seriously, your arguments have no basis in reality. You make a lot of claims and assumptions about welfare recipients without actually backing it up with fact.

        IMO, We need to get corporations off of welfare first and foremost.

        • Snoofin says:

          Corporations provide people with jobs, welfare recipients do not

          • sagodjur says:

            No, customer demand creates jobs. Corporations will fire anyone at the drop of a stock point or budget shortfall. No corporations hire out of the goodness of their hearts. They hire because people want to spend money and the corporation can’t keep up the supply. Even welfare recipients on drugs can help the local economy.

          • Naked-Gord-Program says:

            Corporations destoryed the economy as well as the jobs, bank accounts and homes of millions. Keep defending the 1%. After the 99% “takes care” of the them we’ll come looking for those who defended and protected them De…I mean Snoofin

          • Kate says:

            Actually you are wrong – there are millions employed because of welfare recipients and thousands of corporations who use government services but haven’t hired a single American.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            Because consumer spending is about 70% of the economy, programs like TANF and SNAP provide a small amount of money of which nearly every dollar is spent on goods and services in the local community.

            When Florida did a similar pilot program some years ago, they found only 3.8% of welfare applicants tested positive for drugs. This is likely less than the % of the total population that uses substances illicitly. Why the lower number? Potential welfare recipients are too poor to pay for drugs.

            • partofme says:

              We’ve been through this in the Consumerist comments before. That number is garbage because it ignores the obvious effect of selection bias. On the other hand, real data tells a different story.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              Your point about the money going right back into the economy is a good one. I actually read that food stamps make up to 15% of some store’s profits. Take that away and working people lose jobs, collect unemployment, and maybe end up on welfare eventually too. Welfare isn’t being pilfered in a bank account somewhere. It is being spent into a faltering economy. We need that money put into the economy. It keeps people off the streets, and provides jobs and profits for businesses.

          • Spaghettius! says:

            actually, there are a slew of social workers, goverment employees and medical personnel who service these people in one way or another, and either directly or indirectly benefit from their position.
            I hear there’s a urine-analysis lab in Georgia that’s about to get a lot of new business…

        • Naked-Gord-Program says:

          Don’t forget full oral, vaginal and rectal exams. If *anybody* is having *any* interaction with a gov’t service we need to go to every extreme length possible to make sure they’re not daring to smoke a joint in the privacy of their own home.

          Or at least Snoofin would have us believe.

      • Jaynor says:

        There are countries that have successfully implemented programs such as those you speak of.

        The U.S.S.R., China, probably The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (though it’s hard to get reliable news from there).

        Priviet Komrade!

        Flip side – you really can’t control how people are spending their money without wasting a ton more tax money on tracking it down. That being the case it makes little or no sense to implement regulation beyond limiting the check amount to something reasonable for necessitites. If, at that point, the recipient applies creative couponing or other forms of public assistance (or under-the-table sources of income) to supplement their standard of living there’s not a ton you can do about it.. and it wouldn’t make sense to.

        Beyond this – you live in a nation where the solution you’re proposing is laughable. Suppose you do cut of funds to people who test positive for drugs… these people are more likely to steal, or solicit, or engage in other illegal behavior to get funds for their habits, right? Do you think it makes sense to spend more money on them by housing them in prison than it does to provide them with a stipend?

        Perhaps if you could update the penal code to allow us to shoot everyone who walks in the door in the head (bullets are pretty cheap… you could go sledgehammer for real fiscal efficiency though) then your suggestion might work… but as things stand you’d only cost me more money in the form of taxes to implement your suggestions than I pay today for stipends.

      • grebby says:

        We have such a system already. 1 on 32 Americans is enrolled, and most of them are poor. It’s called prison.

      • pythonspam says:

        “A lot of people on welfare are there BECAUSE they have a substance abuse problem with either drugs or alcohol…”

        Citation needed.

      • ancientone567 says:

        You my friend are one ignorant fuck!

      • Kate says:

        I’m sorry – why should your standards about what is necessary be more important than anyone elses?

        From what I’ve seen, you waste your life and you really don’t deserve the tax benefits like roads, clean air, internet service and all sorts of things that my tax dollar supports. I think you should have to hire someone to personally go over your life and make sure you are the type of person who deserves the benefits that I pay for.

        • Snoofin says:

          The difference is I work and EARN my money and therefore can spend it any way I want. I didnt gamble my money away, get addicted to drugs/alcohol, or irresponsibly have more kids than I can afford therfore I can do what I want with my money. When you are getting handouts that you didnt earn, then we decide what you should or shouldnt consider a necessity

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            Who is to say someone didn’t earn it. Maybe they were paying as much or more in taxes than you and fell upon hard luck.

      • rooben says:

        of course, paying to monitor all these people will cost more than just giving them the cash.

        Instead of all of the bullshit “zomg poor people make bad decisons with money because they are sick as shit of seeing all these awesome commercials for things they cant afford”, if you are that concerned, come up with a realistic solution. For example, a debit card system that works with grocery store club cards, that limits what items the card will pay for.

      • 2 Replies says:

        Once you pay the government (for whatever reason you’ve been taxed),…
        You DO NOT and SHOULD NOT have ANY SAY on WHAT or HOW it’s used.

        If you honestly believe you do, then you should also be fine with your employer having the right and power to tell you how you spend your paycheck, or how you cook the food you buy with it.
        Perhaps your manager is a die-hard VEGAN and says you should be tested for meat-proteins in your diet because he/she has an issue with the consumption of meat.

        Don’t be naive, and don’t delude yourself into believing you have ANY right to say what happens to your money after it’s out of your hands.

        • Boehme417 says:

          I think you’re confused. Employers pay employees in exchange for specified services. We pay the government to work for us. That is what should IDEALLY be happening. What’s wrong with trying to make that happen?

          • kujospam says:

            Employers already do tell me what I can and can’t do while not at work. I cannot get a second job in any field. I have to watch where I donate my money to or where I volunteer my time at. I can’t do other people’s tax returns either. Sorry, my employer does tell me what to do while i’m not at work. And it is one of the biggest 5 banks in America.

        • stephent says:

          actually the whole idea of a representative government is that we DO have a say over how our tax dollars are spent.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          In other words, we shouldn’t have to bother with this stupid democracy thing, I take it? Just let whatever dictator do whatever (s)he wants with the money that gets deducted from my paycheque every week. Sounds like a plan! One way ticket to North Korea, stat!

          • regis-s says:

            Democracy? I take it you’re not one of the people here constantly complaining about politicians being in the pockets of big business.

            Which reminds me. Did the executives of those big companies that received millions of dollars in bail out money from the feds have to submit to a drug test?

        • mcgyver210 says:

          Your logic makes no sense since you are forced to Pay Taxes involuntarily. The Government is a Joke & doesn’t earn a dime or even spend what they demand responsibly. Your employer isn’t the same situation since you actually earn that money & they benefit from your labor or knowledge.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          Stupidest. Comment. Ever.

          Who do you think the government derives its power from?

      • Such an Interesting Monster says:

        You left off the /s tag. I mean, you *are* being sarcastic, right? No one in their right mind would actually say such things and not do so sarcastically, right? Cause that would make you a first-class douchebag, amirite?

      • LanMan04 says:

        lot of people on welfare are there BECAUSE they have a substance abuse problem with either drugs or alcohol
        Bullshit. I want to see a citation before you paint with such a broad brush.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        …you forgot, “and let them decrease the surplus population.”

      • Hobz says:

        First of all, your assumption that people on welfare don’t have jobs is in correct. Most people on welfare, use welfare to supplement there low wage job.

        “get off their butts and find a job to support themselves”

        Your statement however is slightly correct, the largest recipients of welfare are children below the age of 18. A majority of them are to young to legally have jobs… unless, we make them all janitors!

    • XianZomby says:

      “Tax the poor more and make them succumb to screening methods that other people, who receive tax benefits, don’t have to.”

      A “tax benefit” means the government takes less of my money.

      Welfare means the government gives money they did take from me to somebody else.

      Those are two different things.

      “Tax the poor more? ” Just how much in taxes do you think welfare recipients are paying? How much would they have to pay in taxes to pay “more?” One cent?

      Since the government is going to give my money away to welfare recipients, I’ve got no problem with them testing them for drugs. It’s not mandatory they get tested for drugs, it’s just mandatory they get tested for drugs if they want the handout.

      Conservative and liberals both help the poor. Conservatives do it with their own money. Liberals want the government to do it with somebody else’s money.

    • Jawaka says:

      It shouldn’t be easy or convenient or collect welfare.

      Also, beggars can’t be choosers. When you’re expecting a free handout sometimes you need to do things in return.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        Beautiful. I’ll send the piss cup around to your house before you file your taxes, claiming your interest deduction.

    • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

      Obvious monkey brains in your head. Maybe because you need welfare and can’t pass a drug test? Hmmmmmmm….interesting

  2. Eyeheartpie says:

    Citing concerns that the drug test requirement violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches

    It’s stupid and a waste of money, but how is it against the 4th Amendment? It’s not an unsolicited, random drug test. If you want government assistance, you have to prove you don’t use money on drugs.

    • bluline says:

      Should that include alcohol? Tobacco? Caffeine? Glue? Prescription drugs? Or are illegal drugs the only ones that people abuse?

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        Well, I’m pretty sure you can’t use food stamps to buy cigarettes and alcohol but maybe I’m wrong? However, mandating a test but then requiring the testee to pay for it even if they’re clean seems a little off somehow…

        • Hi_Hello says:

          they can. some deli places that sell beer will take any form of money.

        • BryDawg says:

          As far as not being able to buy alcohol/cigs with stamps: what happens is this – let’s say someone gets $100 in stamps. They sell the stamps for $50 cash and use that for alcohol/cigs/drugs/whatever. So, in a way, ‘stamps’ aren’t being used for these items, but they’re getting the cash to use based on selling the stamps (I used to work downtown Atlanta and this is a very common for well for all parties…one person doubles their grocery spending ability and the other gets what they really want).

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        The key there was “illegal” drugs. I think testing for alcohol and tobacco use would be useful as well, but I think by their nature they are tough to detect. Not sure, never knew there was anything beyond a breathalyzer/blood tests.

        • bluline says:

          Well, those on welfare can certainly use their non-government money to buy tobacco and alcohol, or to go to a casino. But if they have that kind of disposable cash, why are they collecting welfare? Shouldn’t we make it illegal for welfare recipients to purchase such things, even with their own money, as long as they are collecting taxpayer dollars?

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            I know people who would say that we should. I disagree – I think you could get far enough by not giving cash privileges on the card (can’t use it at an ATM) and then run stings on retailers to ensure that people aren’t “buying” groceries/etc for others to cash out that way. Similar to what we do for tobacco and alcohol.

            Honestly, if it were me, to get welfare you should be forced to take classes (and paid for it) that train you up in skills – computer use, etc.

            • Hi_Hello says:

              during the welfare to work program (not sure if it’s around). English classes were offer for free at community centers and schools. You were force to go or you’ll lose your welfare. After you completed the classes, they find a job for you. Normally it’s a factory job or something with manual labor.

              But you get an job with an income and some welfare money. Eventually they get rid of the welfare money.

              I”m sure the same thing can be done with other classes.

        • partofme says:

          The key is three-fold, of which you correctly identified the first fold: it’s illegal. The other two pieces are that it is reasonably likely to be a barrier to self-sufficiency and that it’s likely expensive. Tobacco is legal and is unlikely to be a barrier to self-sufficiency. Alcohol is reasonably likely to be a barrier to self-sufficiency, but is legal. However, I would definitely be in favor of restricting cash benefits to those convicted of an alcohol abuse related crime. In that case, it would satisfy all three pieces.

          • LabGnome says:

            Personally I know of a few labs testing long lived by-products of alcohol abuse. While their intention is for hospital/therapy use do not be surprised if/when something like this is available commercially that people would argue that we should test welfare recipients for long term alcohol abuse as well.

            To be honest I don’t know where I stand on the issue but it would be interesting to see if this reasoning could be expanded to legal abuses that the general populace does not approve of their money being used on.

            • partofme says:

              I’m torn on that, as well. These people need help, and if we can identify what might be a major contributing factor to their problems, we can better help. That said, I think the illegal part is quite important. If we have a separate discussion about what is legal, then it’s easier to make distinctions without wading anywhere near valid poor-hating arguments (the poor-hating arguments people currently trod out are pretty obviously invalid).

    • Hi_Hello says:

      ideally, you couldn’t use the money for drug. I think what people are after, are people using their other income for drug while using the welfare money for food.

      if the drug thing is all good to do. I want it expanded to make sure the person doesn’t have a drinking problem, gambling problem and other stuff.

      • DoubleShortMILF says:

        In Massachusetts, people get cash benefits on their EBT cards. So yes, they can and do use their food stamp money for drugs.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          I never understand the cash part… but I know places that take food stamps for stuff that they shouldn’t.

          • SuperSnackTime says:

            The $$$ directly into the account is very practical,albeit one that makes many feel queasy.

            If you give “classic” food stamps, they just turn up a secondary market, and the welfare recipient merely has less state money to buy drugs.

            Further, it has been empirically shown that the amount of people who actually “go out and buy drugs” is way, way lower than we tend to imagine in our minds.

            So the nice thing about this approach is its actually more economically efficient (re: saves money). This is essentially a “presuming we DO want welfare, here’s the efficient way to do it.” argument.

            Sorry, I know that is very much a [citation needed] sort of thing, but it was from a few econometrics papers I had to read several years back.

    • Tacojelly says:

      It’s drug testing a population that may not have any previous record or suspicion or probable cause of taking an illegal substance. This is different from say, testing an individual on parole.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        We already do this for many if not all jobs. Welfare is just a job where you get paid to not work, or not work enough, or not get paid enough for your work.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          like farmers who are subsidized to not grow crops?

          • Cat says:

            Make the farmers that are getting subsidies pee in a cup, too, then.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Yes, only because that practice is terrible. The food could be sent to 3rd world countries.

            • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

              oh, i’m against it just for the food deserts in america. we are really good at shipping food so i don’t get why those subsidies couldn’t be paid to get that food to markets that need it

        • j2.718ff says:

          “We already do this for many if not all jobs.”

          Really? I’ve never taken a drug test in my life, and I have a decent job.

          While I “have nothing to hide”, I’d think twice before working at a place that required drug tests.

        • Difdi says:

          I’ve had jobs operating heavy industrial machinery that didn’t require drug testing. If any job ought to, one where a minor mistake can reduce you AND the guy next to you to a thin red paste ought to require testing to see if you’re impaired. But it didn’t.

    • huadpe says:

      You cannot be required to consent to a search in order to exercise your statutorily established rights, unless there is a specific reason that the execution of the right necessitates the search. If you meet certain criteria, you have a statutory right to TANF assistance. That right has nothing to do with past drug use, and accordingly you can’t be denied that right based on not agreeing to a seizure of your blood or urine for the purposes of testing.

      • Squeezer99 says:

        Being accepted to TANF isn’t a constitutionally protected right.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          I would be very curious at how the constitution was written to protect tax dollars from being used for purposes other than the very people who pay them.

          It’s our money, and yes it is our right to access it when we qualify. What the hell do you think it’s there for?

          • Snoofin says:

            Most of the people receiving TANF have never paid any taxes as they dont work or if they do/did, they likely made so little any taxes they paid, they get back as a refund or they get more back than they paid due to the unfair EIC BS. Therefore they did NOT pay any taxes.

            • smartypants503 says:

              Boom…truth bomb.

            • Lt. Coke says:

              Man, that’s a lot of assumptions. You going to look up data to back that claptrap up, or are you just going to let it sit there?

              • Dieflatermous says:

                Facts would get in the way of their smug self-righteousness. If they realized the majority of people on those programs were there because they’d lost their jobs recently through no fault of their own — and through the fault of people who don’t even pay taxes while benefiting from things taxes pay for — then they might have to face that one day they too might be in need. Better to invent false welfare queens than face that reality.

            • Naked-Gord-Program says:

              Yes because the value of a citizen should be based on HOW MUCH tax they pay. Just pay sales tax? Off with your head – right?

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              Sorry to burst your bubble, but poor people pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in taxes, mostly sales and gas, which, coincidentally, are significant contributors to state and local welfare coffers.

            • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

              I’m sorry, exactly how the fuck would you know that, you bullshit spewing fuckwit?

        • huadpe says:

          I said statutory, not constitutional. The right to TANF is statutory, the right against search and seizure is constitutional.

    • Mrs. w/1 child says:

      Could there also be a multiple cell phone test? or a why are you paying for cable t.v. when you “need” food stamps test? OR a why are you wearing $200 shoes and brand name clothing in the welfare office test?

      Often, people do not cut discretionary spending before applying for welfare. Instead of a drug test, how about a surprise home visit?

    • coffeeplease says:

      I’d suggest then that if you’d like a government job you should also have to be drug tested but I’d guess the Ga legislators would vote against that since they’d be the ones getting tested.

      • RStormgull says:

        You do have to take a drug test before you take a government job. Even each time I’ve been a subcontractor to the government I’ve been subject to a pre-employment screening and random screenings thereafter.

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      That’s funny, because you do have to take a drug test. Also fingerprinting, usually. And for security clearance-required jobs, polygraphs and background interviews along with financial disclosures and a hundred other “invasions of privacy”.

      • alstein says:

        Those aren’t unreasonable. This is, as it’s meant to penalize folks for being poor.

        At the very least, the state should pay for it, but if they did that, they’d be wasting money. This is really an attempt to not pay welfare benefits by making it too onerous.

        How about drug testing CEOs that are getting corporate welfare? I bet most of them are cokeheads. /sarcasm

        • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

          I was intending to respond to coffeeplease, who was talking about making a rule that gov employees should be drug tested.

  3. wiggie2gone says:

    Good now we just need the ACLU to sue them all the way up to the supreme court and this idea will be dead.

  4. Hi_Hello says:

    without getting to the issue about amendment and drugs.
    They should really do something about the $17 drug test.
    $17 can be a lot of money to someone who isn’t on any drug.

    pay if you failed, free if you are clean.

  5. Jim M says:

    No. Not going to happen. I hope the(a) kills this dead.

  6. dolemite says:

    “citing concerns that the drug test requirement violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches”. I’m confused by that statement, because no one is forcing anyone to get on welfare. If you don’t want to be drug tested, don’t apply for it.

    Just like I can’t go fly on a plane and state I’m subject to unreasonable searches when TSA videotapes me nude and sexually assaults me. No one is forcing me to fly.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      so kids goes hungry because parent(s) decide not to get the drug test for whatever reason…

      What if CPS comes in and say, get welfare and feed these kids or we are talking them away.

      Parent(s) still have options but would that consider someone forcing them to take the drug test?

    • Darrone says:

      The point is, there is no special reason to single out medicare. The court is saying: There is no special need for drug testing welfare recipients. It is no different that requiring a drug test to drive on a public road. Or use a town dump. Or call the police. You cannot have a search requirement to receive government assistance, unless there is some special need for that requirement. There is none here.

      • Southern says:

        But people are drug tested for “driving on public roads” all the time; anything from blowing in a tube to the drawing of blood. They (the police) don’t even need a reason, they’ll just set up a sobriety checkpoint and if they even THINK that your eyes look glassy, you can be forced to submit to a breathalizer or blood screening.

        • stevenpdx says:

          But not before you’re allowed to have a driver’s license.

        • alstein says:

          Being impaired on a vehicle is reasonably believed to be a threat to public safety.

          Being on welfare is only a threat to Republicans (having a policy of slashing welfare/being pro-1%= poor folks don’t vote for you). That’s why this is being passed. To disenfranchise and impoverish political enemies of the state.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      But every American is forced to pay into welfare coffers by paying their taxes. That seems like a dirty bait and switch: we’ll take your money easy peasy but if you want to get some of it back now that you’re unemployed with hungry kids we’ll need you to go ahead and pee in this cup while paying for the privilege.

      It is bad that people out there abuse the system and buy alcohol/drugs with the money, but is this really the best way to fix the problem? Guarantee there are way more people blowing this money on alcohol than illegal drugs, this method will do nothing to curb that.

      • Snoofin says:

        Most of the people receiving TANF have never paid any taxes as they dont work or if they do/did, they likely made so little any taxes they paid, they get back as a refund or they get more back than they paid due to the unfair EIC BS. Therefore they did NOT pay any taxes.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I don’t think you get ALL your tax money back when you get a refund. You only get what you overpaid. So they DID pay taxes.

          Get Warren Buffett to pay for it. He says he should pay more taxes anyway.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            If you make so little that you can get on welfare, you most likely get back all of your tax paid plus EIC.

            A single mother who makes $16,810 a year pays no income tax and gets back enough in EIC to cover all payroll taxes and sales tax on 100% of income at a sales tax rate of 10%. Unlikely that all income was subject to sales tax.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          And in most cases 100% of their income is funneled directly into the local economy. Not to mention the higher-than-average proportion of their income that goes towards sales and gas taxes.

          So your point is?

      • smartypants503 says:

        Welfare is not unemployment insurance.

        Welfare is supposed to be a finite program built to provide short-term cash assistance and steer people quickly into jobs not a never ending supply of money.

        • Kate says:

          What made you think that? Welfare is to keep people from being without support in a humane manner. Just because there is an end to it, doesn’t mean that’s how it should be or how it was intended. At one time, it was possible to live without funds on the charity of others if you went too long without a job, that’s becoming harder and harder every day. It may soon be impossible if not already for some to get a job or to find a way to live.

          People without support have to resort to begging or lawlessness to survive. Do you really want this country to sink into 3rd world status?

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Because you have a statutory right to welfare funds if you meet the criteria. And unless the government has clear or compelling evidence that you’re a drug-user it’s a violation of the 4th Amendment to require a drug test. Simply applying or receiving welfare funds is not sufficient cause in and of itself.


      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        So it is illegal to have to take a drug test to get a government job?

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          No, because you have no right to a job.

          • eldergias says:

            So wait… you believe that a person does not have a right to a job but does have a right to free money from the government?

            I have to disagree with you on that one. Either both are privileges (which I believe) or both are rights.

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              SCOTUS would disagree with you. You have no right to any particular job, but you do have a right to welfare benefits.

              • partofme says:

                …in which case did SCOTUS say that?

              • eldergias says:

                You keep saying “right to welfare benefits” but you do realize that it is not a “right” correct? If it were a right, there would be no prerequisites. Are there prerequisites to getting welfare? Yes there are, hence not a right. If it were a right, the government could not deny welfare to somebody who did not meet the prerequisites. You are not allowed to make/have a certain amount of money and still be on welfare: prerequisite. So what if we change the prerequisite to obtaining welfare? That is the focus of this article and discussion. You seem to be saying “changing the prerequisite in this suggested way is unconstitutional since welfare is a right” which is a not logically correct because rights do not have prerequisites.

      • partofme says:

        …do the criteria currently include a clean drug test?

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          Well that’s the issue at hand, isn’t it? They want to make it part of the criteria even though a federal judge has already ruled that doing so is a violation of the 4th Amendment.

          • partofme says:

            So a priori, there is no right independent of a potential criteria for a drug test. Just checking.

            Furthermore, the law is far from settled. A district judge ruled it unconstitutional, the appeals panel reversed, the full appeals court vacated but then got stuck 6-6. There is no reason to think this will clearly be declared unconstitutional. None of that is binding on other states. I’m certainly interested to see one of these states get it to a higher level.

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              Well there is, a right to not be subjected to search without cause. This law will be challenged and ultimately found to be unconstitutional.

              • partofme says:

                …and there is a special need exemption, which this was found to fall under by the highest court to have concluded on the matter. The most recent outcome from the courts (holding only in Michigan) turned on a procedural matter. Simply put, neither of us can conclude with certainty which side the legal outcome will fall on. The sooner you realize that lack of certainty, the sooner you’ll start tempering your rhetoric and begin making sense.

              • partofme says:

                This here is really the most important post in the whole thread. There is no right to welfare. There is a fourth amendment. There is a special needs exception. Whether drug testing for welfare qualifies for a special needs exception is yet a matter for the courts to decide (except in Michigan). Any other arguments against it are bs (which is what I’ve been trying to show). Literally, this entire thread should be, “I think it’s against the fourth amendment.” “I think there might be a special needs exemption.” “We should hope one of these cases go to SCOTUS so we can find out.” And that’s it, folks. No need for hating the poor arguments, false equivocations, slippery slopes, or threats of starvation. This whole thread could have been three reasonable statements.

      • sendmoney2me says:

        “Because you have a statutory right to welfare funds if you meet the criteria.”

        and if the criteria mandates that you need to pass a drug test? there ARE other stipulations you need to meet to qualify. benefits are NOT guaranteed. why is is so wrong to ask people geting assistance to take a drug test? I was forced to take one when I was hired for my job. ok..I wasn’t forced.they said take the test or find another job.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          Your employer is not the government and isn’t bound by the 4th Amendment. Even if it was a government job you do not have a right to that job like you do assistance programs. It’s not the same thing.

          And as has been pointed out numerous times, making “passing a drug test” part of the criteria for receiving assistance is a violation of the 4th Amendment.

          • eldergias says:

            You have a “right” to welfare? How so? Just like a driver’s license, it is a privilege not a right, that is why there is a test first. People have challenged the legitimacy of having a test for driver’s licenses before and courts have said “no, it is a privilege not a right.” What standard are you using to claim it is a right?

  7. Keirmeister says:

    What this article doesn’t mention is that setting up the drug testing regime actually costs Florida more money than it saves.

  8. DoubleShortMILF says:

    If you don’t want to take a drug test, don’t take government money. If I have to take a drug test to get a job, why shouldn’t someone have to get tested for taking my hard-earned tax dollars?

    • kaptainkk says:

      Do you pay for the drug test for your job, of course not! I seriously doubt your tax dollars are “hard earned”.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I seriously doubt your tax dollars are “hard earned”.

        LOL. Yeah, your money is only “hard earned” if you don’t make enough to pay taxes.

    • Powerlurker says:

      Because in the case of Florida, it cost more to drug test the applicants than they saved in denying benefits to drug users.

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      Should this standard be applied to everything? Let’s think of all the things you don’t “have” to do, that aren’t constitutionally protected rights, and that by your logic it’d be perfectly fine to require drug testing for. Driving a car, owning a home, renting a home, owning a business, owning a dog, connecting to the internet, hunting or fishing …you get the picture. Why don’t we cut to the chase and just drug test every single person in the country? I’m sure there would be a couple million false positives at most …a small price to pay. /s

      • partofme says:

        Three prong test: 1) Illegal. 2) Reasonably likely barrier to self-sufficiency. 3) Potentially expensive.

        Do your equivocations fail any of these tests? Then they’re bad equivocations.

    • Tacojelly says:

      You obviously don’t know anybody on welfare

      • MNGirl says:

        Exactly! I can think of quite a few people of the top of my head that are on Welfare, and drugs. From the short list: My neighbors to the left, my sister in law, a couple cousins, my neighbors across the street, some friends of my neighbors, my mother in law. Just to name a few. And the drugs very from pot, pills, meth, ect., and the welfare varies from free child care, free food, free rent, free cell phones, cash, ect.

    • bluline says:

      Because the tests are a waste of your tax dollars since the vast majority will test negative. Many private employers have discovered that as well and have stopped administering pre-employment testing except to those in safety-related positions. Testing was costing them more than it was worth.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “why shouldn’t someone have to get tested for taking my hard-earned tax dollars?”

      Maybe because it’s their hard-earned tax dollars as well. I hear this opinion a lot, that people who use welfare are somehow a seperate class that has never paid a penny in taxes. I do not understand the logic there.

      It’s a communal pot, that means anyone who put into it gets to take from it when needed. People who rail against this practice may want to consider how much they like having a public police and fire department, it’s the same damn thing.

      • partofme says:

        Good example. You have a public fire department. In exchange, you abide by the city’s fire code. You even have searches (termed ‘inspections’).

        • justhypatia says:

          You’re kidding right?

          Technically I can be fined for not having a functioning smoke detector or even carbon monoxide detector. But I have never been “searched” and even if I didn’t have these things in good working order they can’t deny me service!

          911 Operator: “Hi Frank, while looking up your address we found out you forgot to replace the back up battery in your carbon monoxide detector 2 months ago… So, unfortunately we’re just going to have to sit here and watch your house burn down. I suggest you grab some marshmallows or Jiffy Pop or something.”

          • partofme says:

            Many municipalities don’t regularly inspect individual homes. They do regularly inspect businesses. And they also inspect new buildings (kinda like how you take a drug test when you apply for welfare, but they don’t regularly inspect later).

            And again (since other people talked about letting houses burn down), your hypothetical of them letting your house burn down is ridiculous and irrelevant. There is no government interest in letting a fire burn. There is a government interest in not spending tax dollars on illegal drugs.

            Analogies will never be perfect (I didn’t start this analogy), but my point is clear that when you use public resources, you agree to abide by some rules. We kinda like to get something from government expenditures. In this case, it’s a win-win, because we can better identify what might be the problem and better help people achieve self-sufficiency.

    • j2.718ff says:

      This sounds reasonable, assuming it’s true across the board. Thus, every person with a government job should be drug tested. Every contractor getting government funds should have every employee drug tested. Every person who works at the factory that makes the pencils that the government purchases for use in public schools should be drug tested.

      • partofme says:

        …all of your examples seem like things where the government gets something tangible from their expenditures (“Hey look at that building the contractors built… Hey Joe, can ya grab me a pencil?”). On the other hand, welfare expenditures don’t have tangible returns (before you flame me because you think I said welfare expenditures have no return, ask yourself why I wrote the word tangible).

        Thus, in your examples, the government can easily say, “Here is money. Do with it what you please. I now have a building/pencil/etc.” If you waste the money and don’t provide the building or the requisite number of pencils (or they’re not the agreed upon quality), they will sue you and take what you owe (and then some, most likely). Welfare has no such feature, and thus it seems reasonable that the gov’t would ask for some assurances that their money won’t be wasted. This very basic idea is not controversial, as there are plenty of hoops that welfare recipients already have to jump through. However, it suddenly becomes controversial when people think they might not get that joint.

        • j2.718ff says:

          How about public education then? Government expenditures fund public schools. Should all public school students be drug tested?

          • partofme says:

            Euugghhh… public schools are a whole different beast. The Constitutional law is quite murky concerning what special needs the government has and what rights the students give up. It is quite clear that the students do in fact give up some rights in a public school setting. Personally, I think there’s probably a compelling interest to do locker searches or dog sniffs, but probably not drug tests. The money we spend on public schools doesn’t become discretionary spending for students.

            • partofme says:

              …although I could maybe be persuaded that they have a compelling interest for testing of athletes for steroids. Maybe.

              • mulch says:

                Since alcohol abuse is a much larger problem than drug abuse for most welfare recipents, are they doing anything about that? No, wait, Coors would get upset then…

                • partofme says:

                  I’ll repeat myself…

                  “Three prong test: 1) Illegal. 2) Reasonably likely barrier to self-sufficiency. 3) Potentially expensive.

                  Do your equivocations fail any of these tests? Then they’re bad equivocations.”

                  And then repeat myself again…

                  “I would definitely be in favor of restricting cash benefits to those convicted of an alcohol abuse related crime. In that case, it would satisfy all three pieces.”

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Because a private employer forcing you to take a drug test in exchange for voluntary employment isn’t a violation of the 4th Amendment, because 1.) they aren’t the government, and 2.) you have no right to that job.

      The government trying to tell you you must submit to a drug test in order to receive funds that you have a statutory right to receive IS a violation of the 4th Amendment unless they have clear or compelling evidence of your illegal activity.

      Oh, and it’s not your tax dollars once you pay the government. You don’t get to dictate how it’s spent after that.

      • AcctbyDay says:

        I thought voting laws in was the way of dictating how money was spent. Which is exactly what is being done here. If the law is not passed the majority has disagreed. If the law passes, the majority has decided that in order to get assistance you must pass a drug test.

        Why is this a problem?

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          Indirectly, perhaps. But unless you have something like a voter referendum or proposition you don’t get to directly dictate how your tax money is spent.

          As we’ve seen in the past few years just because you vote in a representative that claims to adhere to your belief system doesn’t mean they’re under any obligation to vote in that same manner.

  9. moonunitrappa says:

    It’s one thing to violate my rights, but to make me pay for the condom to do it?

  10. TuxthePenguin says:

    “if invoking an interest in preventing public funds from potentially being used to fund drug use were the only requirement to establish a special need, the State could impose drug testing as an eligibility requirement for every beneficiary of every government program.”

    That doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable, but the test should be free if passed and only charged to the benefit recipient if they fail.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I agree – or make them pay for it first and if they pass then they get an extra $17 with their first benefits.

    • Powerlurker says:

      They did that in Florida and they lost money doing it. In other words, drug users were such a small portion of benefits applicants that the drug tests cost them more money than they saved in denying benefits to the drug users.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        I’m not so concerned whether it costs/saves money – we should do it because it is right (be good stewards of the money taken). We do plenty of things in America because of that concept.

        • Kate says:

          How is it being a good steward to spend more money than it costs to keep who gets the money deserving (in some people’s eyes) of the money?

          I would fire you if you made that kind of decision with my money.

          • partofme says:

            The thing that most people who oppose these laws don’t understand is that the point is to help people, not punish them. Hating and punishing the poor is a popular narrative, but it’s simply not applicable. Drug testing helps us figure out how to best help you if we know what’s going on. A nice bonus is that we’re not buying drugs with cash. Remember that drug testing has never been used to restrict benefits of food, housing, health care, etc…. just cash. Remember that these laws expressly forbid the use of any test results in any criminal proceeding. This is a very narrow scheme to find out how to help people and not put extra cash in drug dealers’ pockets. If you’re an addict and test positive, we’re going to try to help you… in an appropriate way. The appropriate way may not include cash benefits. It may include strong urging for treatment programs. It definitely does not include allowing people to starve.

  11. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    Don’t want to take the test? Don’t try to collect welfare. No one is forcing you to collect these benefits.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Letting your children starve is generally not a good choice for most people. Some *don’t* have a choice of accepting benefits or not; they have to to survive.

      Let’s take that argument to the logical extreme: Every time you avail yourself of a government-provided benefit, you have to pee in a cup. House burning down and you need the fire department? Pee in a cup. Getting directed around an accident by a police officer? Pee in a cup. Drive a car on roads maintained by the government? Pee in a cup. Breathe air that’s cleaner because of government programs? Pee in a cup.

      Hell, let’s make EVERYONE pee in a cup just because.

      Also, treating everyone that participates in a government program like a criminal until proven otherwise HAS to be unconstitutional in some way shape or form. Innocent until proven guilty.

      Also, drug use rates among those receiving government benefits are lower than the population in general.

      • partofme says:

        I haven’t read the text of this law yet, but I’m sure it can’t be much different than the similar laws. In which case, starving has nothing to do with it. These laws never affect food benefits, only cash benefits.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          Food stamps won’t pay the rent or put clothes on their backs, and if you’re homeless you won’t get any assistance at all. Even if you could, should our baseline really be “well they’re living under an overpass wearing trash bags, but at least the kids’ aren’t starving to death…”

          • partofme says:

            I was responding directly to a ridiculous specific claim of letting people starve. Now that you’ve made a more general claim, allow me to state that drug testing has never been used as an indicator to restrict housing benefits, clothing benefits, health care benefits, heating/electricity benefits, or any other type of benefits besides cash. Sorry the facts don’t fit your rhetoric.

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              What makes you think those bills aren’t in some way paid for by welfare funds? What do you think people actually do with that money?

              Not everyone that receives welfare necessarily has or qualifies for housing, heating, electricity, or other benefits, and in many cases if they do they are all rolled into one large benefit from the same agency. And even if they do I can guarantee those benefits do not pay for all of said associated costs, meaning the balance must come from cash sources. And I have never, ever heard of any kind of subsidy for clothing, and while in some places you may get a benefit for your electric or heating you’re unlikely to get both, meaning you’ll still have to come up with a significant utility payment unless you and your kids want to sit around in the dark.

              I know, you were trying to be cheeky by callously pointing out that food stamp benefits aren’t the same as cash benefits and as such wouldn’t directly allow children to starve (just indirectly, but I guess that’s ok). But I’m just not in a very tolerant mood this evening and decided to call you on your bullshit.

              • partofme says:

                Ok, so you don’t think all the various other programs do enough. Then argue that these programs should do more. Don’t make up fiction.

                No matter how many times you say otherwise, it is not bullshit. Your children will not starve. It is straight bullshit to even imply that they would starve indirectly. You would know this if you’ve read any of the published literature on food security. There are genuine reasons to reduce food insecurity, but they are very far from starving, even indirectly. Your mood does not change fact.

                Of course cash benefits can help fill in some gaps. My family has been there; I know it. It’s a good thing to offer cash benefits most of the time. However, if you know that a particular person is addicted to expensive illegal drugs which could be a major contributor to their lack of self-sufficiency, it might not be the best way to help.

                • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                  And you call ME a strawman, now that’s rich…

                  Maybe you should start by not trying to put words into people’s mouths.

                  K.I.S.S. — the scenario goes something like this:

                  Sally is denied welfare because she refuses to take a drug test because she believes it’s a violation of her 4th Amendment rights protecting her from an unreasonable search as the government has absolutely no evidence to suggest she’s a drug user. As a result she and her 4 kids become homeless because she can’t afford to pay the rent without the welfare assistance. And because she and her kids are now homeless and living out of her car they no longer qualify for food stamps or any other form of assistance.

                  So… homeless with 4 kids with no income and zero assistance. I’d say starvation is a definitely real possibility.

                  • partofme says:

                    How exactly do they no longer get food benefits? These aren’t tied to you having a current permanent house. In fact, if you’re homeless, that’s when you’re most likely to qualify for assistance, including food, shelters or other housing assistance. Do you seriously think that the moment you become homeless, you become completely ineligible for all government assistance? If that’s the case, we have a hell of a lot more important problem than drug testing.

                    It’s still obvious that you haven’t bothered to read a single piece of published literature on food security… nor have ever been homeless to realize that food is the easiest thing to acquire. Starvation is simply not a reasonable conclusion, and I will refuse to engage in this conversation anymore until you stop inserting preposterous references to it.

                    Johnny is denied a drivers license because he refuses to written exam because he believes it’s a violation of his 4th amendment rights protecting him from an unreasonable search of his mental faculties as the government has absolutely no evidence to suggest he’s a bad driver (remember you didn’t say this person’s beliefs have to be right). As a result, he’s fined hundreds of dollars and his car is impounded. He can’t get to work, he loses his job, becomes homeless, and his choice is to either starve to death or get arrested for failure to pay the fine so he can get fed in jail. Oh, and let’s give him five children, just because we’re dicks. zomg, starvation must happen every day in America. Except that it doesn’t. Read the published literature. Stop being ignorant.

                    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                      Good. Finally you’ll shut up. If I knew that’s all it was going to take I would have said it sooner.

                      Nice strawman argument too. Driver’s licenses and welfare aren’t even remotely the same thing.

                      And YES. Many states (if not all at this point) require a physical address to issue any kind of welfare benefits including food stamps, as they don’t want people coming in from other counties or states in order to get more money. No address, no benefits. Sad, but 100% true.

                    • partofme says:

                      Yay! No reference to starving! We’re getting better!

                      If you didn’t realize that the whole point was that drivers’ licenses and welfare are different (yet would follow exactly the same logic you presented), then you should probably review your logic, for I seem to understand it better than you do.

                      Do you have evidence for this claim that they need a permanent physical address? They may ask for evidence of residency, but in your hypothetical situation, the family would certainly have that. I quickly checked the state I live in now, just to make sure I’m not crazy. On my way to finding the details, what did I run into? Oh look at that. They have an entire program dedicated to homeless youth… which even includes clothing. Regardless, the main point is whether I need a current permanent address for food benefits, so I click on SNAP, and whoops!

                      You may receive SNAP benefits even if you don’t have an address but live in Illinois. If you are eligible, IDHS will make sure you get your benefits.

                      So yes. You need to have a bit of evidence that you’re not double-dipping… but your hypothetical scenario would certainly have that evidence available. Still no starving. Still no argument remotely related to drug testing.

                    • partofme says:

                      Also, even if you could compile a list of states that do require addresses for SNAP benefits, just hold it for a second and think… “Am I making an argument that states shouldn’t require addresses, or am I making an argument that states shouldn’t drug test?”

              • partofme says:

                Upon further review, I’m going to award you the strawman of the day! You made a fine argument for why cash benefits exist and might be a good thing. However, you would need a hypothetical interlocutor who is arguing against all cash benefits for your argument to make sense. If you would like to make a relevant argument about cash benefits and drug testing, I’ll be listening.

      • partofme says:

        Also, your slippery slope is bad. While the government may have an interest in making sure they’re not giving you cash that you turn around and spend on illegal drugs, they hardly have an interest in making sure you’re not on drugs before they put out a fire. You could probably learn the relevant constitutional doctrines which distinguish these types of things and de-slippifies the slope.

        Finally, wherever you’re getting your information on drug use in populations, it is wrong.

      • smartypants503 says:

        Quit with the “slippery slope” nonsense and all around jibber-jabber. If you need the fire depts help to put out a fire at your residence you have PAID for that service whether you own the propert or not. If you drive a car you must pay for gas so therefore you have PAID to have the roads maintained. But if you are getting assistance through welfare You are getting PAID so therefore need to qualify by peeing in the cup.

        You have a choice…be a ward of the state by taking money that others pay in or don’t. It is not an easy choice for some and not even a choice for others. But if must take from the collective “pot” be prepared to prove you deserve it. I guess the other choice is to starve or get to work.

        • Dieflatermous says:

          If logic is jibber-jabber you need to go back to grade school.

        • dragonwerx says:

          By your logic, you have two separate classes of citizens: those who have PAID INTO the system. vs those who need help (getting assistance through welfare) and therefore are GETTING PAID.

          Um, but what about those who have paid into the system for years, and now need public assistance? It’s OK to deny them unless they take a drug test? Wooo hoooo, my sister is home free! Worked for years, paying taxes on a very good income. Now needs assistance due to self-induced health issues. She will pass any test for pot, meth, heroin, you-name-it…because tobacco and alcohol aren’t tested for. But so what? She paid in for YEARS, and didn’t have to take a piss test for ‘that’ privilege.

          My state’s legislators (both state and national) depend on my hard-earned tax dollars; why aren’t they first in line to take a piss test? Why is my sister (a very poor woman, now) held to a higher standard than someone holding public office? (I’ll bet most of them are VERY well-off.)

          Why do we treat the nation’s poor people like they are below us? Somehow not “us”? And we are somehow so much better than them…we get to attribute all sorts of nefarious deeds to them. Shiftless, irresponsible, druggies, loose, bad judgement, maybe not even human. Easy to deny their humanity, once you get to these thoughts.

          Let those who are without fault cast the first stone.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          But you seem to not realize that as a citizen you have a RIGHT to receive welfare benefits if you qualify, regardless of whether you’ve paid into the system or not. As such, the government cannot deny you your rights without a good reason, nor can it compel you to submit to an unwarranted drug test without cause. I know, I know, that pesky Constitution again. We really should get rid of that thing, right?

          • Maximus Pectoralis says:

            I am curious where this “right to receive welfare benefits” is defined? I’ve never heard of anything of the sort in our Constitution. I realize there are certain political movements / groups which believes everyone has a “right” to free everything, including food, health care, housing, education, transportaiton etc. but I haven’t heard of any statute, constitutional amendment or case law which explicitly defines a right to welfare benefits in the United States (I am aware there is such a right in the UK)

          • smartypants503 says:

            As of the 1960’s it is no longer a “right”.

  12. KillerBee says:

    ” the State could impose drug testing as an eligibility requirement for every beneficiary of every government program.”

    I disagree with charging for these tests (these folks are already poor, and if clean, they deserve to keep their money), but I have no problem with drug testing as a requirement of any government program.

    • Mozz says:

      Yes, this exactly.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      So if you take advantage of government-sponsored unemployment benefits you should be drug tested? How about medical assistance? Tax rebates? Use of the postal service, police department, or fire department? Driving down roads or use of public parks? Where exactly do you draw the line?

      • eldergias says:

        If I am paying money for a government service (police, fire, roads, schools, unemployment benefits[you pay for these while you are working a job in wages removed from paychecks], ect) via tax or if it is money that is mine that the government is simply holding until I claim it back (a tax refund) then I am paying for a service or getting back something I already own. Either way, the government isn’t doing me any favors, so I should not be subject to their scrutiny. If, however, I am getting some free service from the government that I have not and do not pay for, then it is reasonable for them to ask that I submit to some form of examination (see driver’s license) to prove that I should be allowed the privilege I desire.

        Yes, that does mean that if you have paid into welfare then you should be able to get welfare without a test. However, if you have not paid into welfare why would you have a right to it?

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          You do realize that people on welfare still pay taxes right? The money they pay in rent goes towards the owner’s property and school taxes, and they still pay sales taxes, gas taxes, and utility taxes, all of which are used for continued assistance funding by local and state governments. The idea that people don’t pay anything into the system is a complete and total fallacy. Everyone pays in one way or another.

          • eldergias says:

            And you do realize that paying taxes with welfare money is different than paying taxes with money earned from a job. Paying the taxes with money that the government hands you to pay the taxes is not the same as paying the taxes with money you have earned. That is circular. I receive welfare, I pay my taxes with welfare money, those taxes I paid go towards giving me welfare. No money is added into the welfare system in that scenario. To me, that does not create a right to welfare, it creates a privilege to welfare.

            I work a job with a paycheck, I pay my taxes with that money I earned, those taxes I paid go towards welfare recipients. In that case money has been added to the welfare system. To me, that creates a right to welfare if you need it at some point.

            At the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of opinion. I am of the opinion: “If I work the land, I have a right to the crop it yields. Since you didn’t work the land, you have no right to that crop. If I give you any of my crop, it is a privilege, not your right.” You seem to not be of that opinion.

            • Talmonis says:

              So, you’d be against bankers and capitalists who don’t actually produce anything reaping nearly all of the profits from others labor? If so, I applaud you sir. But somehow I doubt you’re of that mindset.

              • eldergias says:

                I am for people reaping the benefits of their work, and against people reaping the benefits of other people’s work. If the bankers and capitalists you refer to are doing that, then I am against it. However, bankers do do valuable work from my understanding. They are entrusted with investor’s and institution’s money to invest in businesses they believe will grow and that investment assists in the growth of the business, after careful analysis. Obviously, there are bankers who don’t do this well however. Just because what a person produces is non-physical, does not mean they haven’t done any work. But if a person hasn’t done any work, they can’t claim a right to the benefit of work.

  13. Cat says:

    I consider someone taking government money to be an “employee” of the state, and therefore drug testing should be mandatory.

    For ALL government employees!

    • Cat says:

      lets try a live link.

    • BennieHannah says:

      I’d be for it if elected officials had to comply.

      My main problem with this law is that children are the ones who will end up hurting. Is it fair to make a child go hungry because his or her parents are using drugs? I fail to see how the law will serve to make things better (the drug users will find a workaround or a loophole — you KNOW they will) and those who are merely guilty of being poor will be out the $17.

      The only folks that stand to benefit are the new hires whose job it is to watch people pee in a cup. If the law goes forward taxpayers will end up paying more for the drug testing than they save in unpaid benefits…and if it is struck down (as it almost certainly will be) the taxpayers will pay for the legal fight as well.

      • eldergias says:

        I would imagine that a parent who is using and fail the test would have their kid taken by social services, wouldn’t they? I was under the impression that social services would take kids out of drug homes and put them in foster care when parents are found to be drug users.

  14. Kenmist says:

    Well it could be worse, the could reclassify from assistance to actually some kinda of employment. Then your like everyone else who as to for there employment.

  15. Bodger says:

    OK. To even the playing field, drug tests all around! Every person who receives benefits in any form from any government agency must be tested, preferably at a random time and repeated at a random interval. I mean really every — military personnel, police, judges, firefighters, social security recipients, students, all elected officials (especially the congress critters), government contractors and every government employee at every level. Fair is fair and we wouldn’t want anybody feeding at the government trough to be high on anything. Personally, I’m pretty certain that most members of every legislature are stoned out of their gourds pretty much all of the time based on the laws they write.

    • Southern says:

      Military personnel ARE drug tested frequently. Both when they enter the service, and randomly throughout the year. You’ll just show up for roll call, and the CO will announce “OK, everyone who’s SSN ends in “3”, report to the 1st Sergeants office after roll call for random drug testing!”

    • Maximus Pectoralis says:

      There is a big difference between people who make a net contribution (while receiving some benefit such as infrastructure and tax deductions) and people who are purely parasitic (receiving all of the same benefits but paying no taxes and actually receiving cash hand-outs).

      My tax bill (state + federal) not including sales tax comes out to to almost $40k after all deductions. I make a net contribution to society.

      If I pay money to the government and receive something in return, it’s not free, I paid for it.

  16. Tacojelly says:

    This is at best insulting and at worst a waste of time and money.

    People on welfare are (generally) not there because of substance abuse. Welfare recipients have been documented in the past as using as much OR LESS than middle and upper class people. Simply put, they don’t have the money to spend on drugs. This is why it got shut down in florida.

    Now, instead of helping these people or reforming what they don’t like about their welfare system, Georgia is forcing families to travel to what I’m sure is an inconvenient location and pay to have the chance at having their benefits taken away. This is jumping on people who may or may not have a car, absolutely cannot afford a babysitter, and should be spending time looking for jobs.

    Notice how government employees (whom also take home tax dollars), or corporations receiving subsidies don’t need drug tests.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      They should have required drug tests for the executives of corporations seeking huge government bailouts; they would definitely have failed.

    • partofme says:

      Wherever you’re getting your statistics, it is wrong. Also, many government employees do get drug tested. Corporations have their own unique hoops to jump through to show that they’re not wasting the government’s money (unless, of course, they’re one of those who are essentially getting kickbacks). Repeat after me: “Corporations are not individual people. They will be treated somewhat differently than individual people. Corporations are assemblies of people. They will be treated like other assemblies of people.”

  17. oldwiz65 says:

    Where are they supposed to get the money for the drug tests?
    this is just another attempt to make lives more miserable for the people in need of help; the government wants to get rid of them by any means possible.

  18. Hi_Hello says:

    I think the issue is more than what welfare money is going toward. This drug test issue, it’s someone’s attempt to use bubble gum to fix a leaked balloon.

    The whole welfare system need to be destroyed and recreated. It’s been through a lot of changes since my mom was on welfare. I think the main thing, and what people can’t bring themselves to do is that eventually people need to be removed from the welfare system.

    It’s like having a trouble kid that you keep on bailing out but if kick him out he might learn how to survive on his own.

    Welfare should exist only to help those who needs help for a certain time period while they get back on their feet. It shouldn’t be use as an income source. Implementing a time period will cause drastic change and people don’t want to be responsible for it.

    If people know that their welfare only last 1-4 years, they will find other ways to adjust. And there will be some people who can’t adjust but you can’t save everyone.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I agree, except we don’t live in a country where 100% of all Americans can work and still be self-sustaining. There are still those out there who work twice as hard as the majority of us and still make half as much while taking care of other children. And there are people are disabled and simply can’t work.

      If we resolve these issues, then I definitely agree. On the other hand, the type of program you’re talking about pretty much exists: it’s called unemployment wages.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      There is something seriously fucked up If the richest country in the world can’t manage to save everyone while other countries with a fraction of our wealth can. Even one person falling thru the cracks is one too many.

      Cause if it’s ok to purposefully allow that, how many is too many? A thousand people? 100,000? A million? 10 million? At what point do you say “wow, that’s a lot of people we’ve willingly kicked to the curb, there really has to be a better way.”

      And what do you do about people who simply can never earn enough money to support their family? For example, a single mother (let’s say for sake of argument a young widow) with 5 kids where her two jobs barely earns her $20K a year, which is substantially less than what’s needed to pay rent, utilities, food, clothes and other essentials for her family. Then what? Do you just say tough luck and tell them where they can find a nice clean freeway underpass to live?

    • alstein says:

      Welfare bennies already aren’t permanent anymore, you can think Clinton for that.

      We need to protect the less powerful from the more powerful. Weaken welfare, you weaken the middle class as the rich will use the threat of poverty as a club to lower wages. Classic behavior that was used in the 1800s pre-unions.

  19. jerry101 says:

    I support this, provided that this law is extended to all who use government services, benefits, or receive financial support from the government.

    By that token, I humbly recommend extending this practice to the following:

    -government employees, whether civil service, appointed, or elected.
    – persons who work on government funded projects. If you work for a government contractor, you have to take the test in order to draw a paycheck.
    – public schoolchildren
    -persons applying for a drivers license (use of public roads) or who buy gas (roads are government services)
    – persons who wish to use the postal service
    – social security recipients
    – persons who call for police, fire, or EMT service (must pee before your fire is put out. If you fail, the FD starts the fire back up).
    – anyone who takes any tax deductions or credits
    – if that leaves anyone who doesn’t need to pee into the cup a couple of times a year, then I’m sure that we can find a program or benefit they receive which would put them on the list.

    • Coffee Fiend says:

      What about the people who test the people who pee in a cup?

      • jerry101 says:

        They fall under the “working for or as a government contractor” category (bullet point 2)

        The watchmen must be watched as well. They need to pee daily. It’ll be like Gattaca for them, only with pee instead of blood samples.

  20. SavijMuhdrox says:

    This just seems like another band-aid being put on the problem that the welfare program in this country is abused a lot. It needs to be fixed, not made more encumbersome with legislation of questionable efficiency.

    I wish some of these law-makers would try to tackle this problem at its root, some people work the system and waste our tax money. It might be quite difficult to figure out a way to do to.. but this is why we PAY THE SALARIES of these lawmakers.

    And even though this law is not necessarily well thought out, I’m glad another state is at least attempting something.. as opposed to waiting for the federal government to fix everything.. which will never happen..

  21. Captain Spock says:

    So basically, they can pass the initial drug test get their moneys then go and do drugs?

    • axolotl says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, those filthy, addicted, poor people would never be capable of something like that. This system is foolproof!

  22. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    This reminds me of a family I know. They are on several kinds of public assistance. While I have to carefully budget out nearly every last penny, they always seem to have disposable income – including money for booze and drugs. I asked them about it one day. Essentially the answer was that since all their food, housing, education, medical, and most transportation costs were paid for by the state, all their income – most of which is under the table – could be used to buy whatever they wanted. I cannot begin to relate how frustrated and used this makes me feel. And it certainly contributes to my thoughts that some sort of measures to control subsidizing illegal behavior, poor choices, and leeching should be in place.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I have a family member that is on assistance. She is an intelligent person but her father told me she has pretty much decided that she doesn’t want to grow up. She has a kid, too (teenager). Her husband doesn’t work either; he’s trying to get on disability because of a back problem. I saw a post on Facebook that indicated SHE might be trying to get on it too. There is nothing wrong with her except that she wants people to carry her.

      They are in a shelter right now which offers a comprehensive program aimed at getting people’s shit together. At this point I’d be surprised if it took. If I ever win the lottery, I’m running so far and so fast. She’ll be the first person with her hand out.

      Many might argue that she’s family, therefore I should be obligated to do what I can. Well I’ve given her rides here and there. But I’m on unemployment now myself; I can’t help someone who won’t help themselves. Even her dad admitted he is out of options. I didn’t ask him why they aren’t staying with him; I’m sure it was a decision that was hard for him to make.

  23. Doughboy says:

    What’s so difficult here. This is not needed, first get rid of cash for any benefits, people submit their bills to the welfare office who pays it off. For food go to a WIC solution, only good for certain items. Then you don’t need drug testing. You’ll never get rid of fraud totally but I don’t see the black market for milk being all that lucrative.

  24. Doughboy says:

    What’s so difficult here. This is not needed, first get rid of cash for any benefits, people submit their bills to the welfare office who pays it off. For food go to a WIC solution, only good for certain items. Then you don’t need drug testing. You’ll never get rid of fraud totally but I don’t see the black market for milk being all that lucrative.

  25. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Or they could wait until someone is actually arrested and convicted of a drug charge, and then deny benefits to the person convicted, but supply food/shelter for the kids if applicable.

    I too am subject to random drug tests at work, and had to pee in a cup before I was hired, but I knew that and agreed to the stipulation because I needed a paycheck. I fail to see what smoking a little pot now and then at home would do to my job performance, other than make being assimilated into the Borg a little more pleasant. Oh and it’s illegal…still…because the government won’t wake up and legalize it and tax the crap out of it! They’d probably see use go down because there’s nothing like government interference to create a giant buzz kill.

  26. AdviceDog says:

    Has the governor been tested?

    I mean, the support his state gives him is also temporary.

  27. axolotl says:

    For anyone who follows the logic of “I had to take a drug test to get my job so they should have to take a drug test to “work” for my tax dollars” try to understand this: your boss did not drug test you to as a way to try to predict what you will likely do with your paycheck. You were most likely tested as a measure of your potential responsibility as an employee and/or as a safety precaution. It’s about your potential to perform your job at the company, NOT about whether your personal life choices are approved by your boss.

    • iblamehistory says:

      Not to mention, MANY public aid recipients do work. They just don’t make enough money. Between my master’s degree, my husband’s bachelor’s degree, and our income, we qualify for food stamps. We’d love to make more money, but good luck finding any legitimate source of income right now. He’s washing dishes with that college education.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        Go work a lawn care job. TruGreen will pay you $12.oo an hour to start with plenty of overtime. That is way more than washing dishes.

  28. axolotl says:

    What other activities should disqualify you from receiving welfare? Living above your means? Owning two cars? Gambling? Gambling seems about as reckless as drug use in terms of using your welfare check for what it’s intended for. How about sleeping in when you could be out looking for a job?

    • Commissar Yarrrrrrr says:

      The ironic part is a government program here in California (it could have been welfare, or the stay-at-home and help a disabled relative program.), a lot of the recipients where getting their payment in the form of debit cards, and spending them at casinos.

    • c_c says:

      Government mandated alarm clocks!

  29. oldwiz65 says:

    Maybe they should also require drug testing before you can register to vote? Great way to get rid of poor voters. Then they could also require it before applying to renew your driver’s license? Get rid of more poor people. Then perhaps drug test before you can actually vote?

  30. tape says:

    good luck getting that to pass judicial constitutional scrutiny, Georgia.

  31. Shorebreak says:

    The war on the poor, minorities and women continues in the red states. The goal to turn this country into a medieval theocracy by the American Taliban just goes on and on.

  32. Jawaka says:

    The only concern that I have is for the children who have parents who do drugs. I don’t want to support a parent’s drug habit but I do want their kids to be able to eat

  33. Commissar Yarrrrrrr says:

    See, normally I would be against something like this. But after growing up in an area where half the people on my block where on welfare, and those same people had BMW’s and Escalade’s parked out front (and I know this because I was good friends with a lot of them, being the only kid on the block who could fix computers), I have lost all faith in the Welfare system. A drug addict is not going to use the money they get for free to eat and find a job, they are going to use it to get more drugs. And this is not a slight against just people on welfare, its a known fact across all economic spectrum’s.

    • Auron says:

      So you are saying all welfare recipients are drug users? And the only thing they spend any money they get from welfare programs is spent solely on drugs?

  34. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    Just make them pick up garbage from the side of the road so they earn their money.

  35. TuxMan says:

    You give me free money and all I have to do is be drug free? Where do I sign up!

  36. arcticJKL says:

    Perhaps we could let the second estate take care of welfare and leave the government out of it.

  37. Kuri says:

    So according to this, person, all welfare recipients are drugged up deadbeats that just haven’t been caught yet.

  38. vicissitude says:

    People who think this is a good idea, really have no clue what Georgia puts people through when it comes to aid. $15 dollars per person for food aid and $300 a month in total aid. They work off 1950’s family budget figures and a State ranked on the bottom with 19% at, or below the poverty level. Oh and the 5th highest tax rate on people who are below the poverty level. Georgia cares about one thing only, the money, people come a distant last. Georgia has the worst ranking in America for health care, some of the highest unemployment levels in America and this is the best the Governor can come up with. It may sound popular, but Georgia has many other far more pressing problems like finding jobs. They need to stop killing people who have no health care, or way to feed their families. The decisions the Georgia legislature and Governor are making IS killing people. How they live with themselves, supposedly being a ‘Godly’ people, is beyond me. Shame on Georgia!!!

  39. Geekybiker says:

    Can’t we just round up the poor and make them fight each other to the death for the right to unlimited welfare for the rest of their life? Maybe we could televise it, and make it an annual event?

  40. Jer in Denver says:

    Heh. Florida’s record of catching people on public assistance using drugs was pretty lousy to say the least. They ended up paying more to administer the tests than they saved in booting drug users off the rolls.

    Hint: When your mitigation strategy costs more than the risk you’re trying to mitigate, you have epic levels of FAIL.

  41. mcgyver210 says:

    My idea is to abolish welfare since it just cultivates a trend of people living off of the Bloated Out of Control Government which is really being paid for by me & others that are trying to make a living & pay our own way.

    Yes I can say this since I was Homeless once & didn’t apply for a handouts but instead worked my way out of the situation I got myself into.

    So I definitely think it is a GREAT idea to test them for drugs as a requirement to get tax dollars to live on.

  42. waicool says:

    why is this article on consumerist?

  43. Hobz says:


    Lets make large corporations who receive close to $800 billion a year in government welfare in the form of pork barrel projects an subsidies take a drug test. Every single employee of the corporations from the CEO down to the janitor should have to take an annual drug test. I’m tired of giving them my money…

  44. blogger X says:

    Came to view the comments.

    Leaving satisfied

  45. firedancerbk says:

    I don’t get all you people that think this is unfair. If you want to receive FREE money and benefits from the government then you must play by their rules. Done and dusted. Don’t like it, you don’t have to take the benefits. As for the argument “what about their children”…well if these parents are drug users (pot included) their priorities aren’t on the well being of their kids but on their on selfish needs. It’s not the government’s fault for the children starving, its the parents.

  46. eldergias says:

    “Citing concerns that the drug test requirement violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches[…]”

    It would only violate the 4th Amendment if the test was mandatory, I.E. – you have no choice but to take the test. However, you can choose to not take the test… by not accepting welfare. Just like a driver’s license, it is a privilege not a right, that is why there is a test first.

  47. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I love that this was posted at 4:20

  48. DonnieZ says:

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would want someone who is an illegal substance user getting their money for free?

    I work for my money, I don’t do drugs. Why should somoene who is not working get access to public funds to live on, while the other money they have access to goes for the purchase of illegal substances? Maybe if those welfare recipients who did use drugs didn’t buy drugs, they could buy food, rent, clothing, daipers, with less help from the Gubmint..

    I’m not a large proponent of welfare programs in their current state, but to hand out public money to people who are already spending their own on illegal substances is just plain idiotic.

    Even if the number is low, like the 2-3% number that was quoted earlier, that’s 2-3% of people who are not receiving public funds to subsidize drug use and now have an incentive to stop using drugs to get the help they need. It’s more of a matter of principle, and even if there is a cost to drug testing, it’s just status quo for how government run programs operate – none of them are run with any sort of efficiency. (Obvious political jab: It seems that Liberals are all for bigger spending, except when it comes to possibly making more efficient use of taxpayer funds.)

    Since it was quoted that most welfare recipients are children, I’d like to see if the 2-3% number quoted included those children in the overall count. If it did, I’d like to see what the number is without children included in the count.

    (And yes, I do see the coincidence that this article was posted at 4:20)

  49. grumpygirl says:

    I have no problem with this, just as long as all elected officials in Georgia have to pass the same drug test.

  50. MrEvil says:

    What’s ironic is that when Florida did the drug testing on welfare recipients, the cost of drug-testing all recipients cost 10 times more than was saved by kicking drug users off welfare.

    You can’t spend a dollar to save a dime people.