Drug Testing And Public Assistance Essay

2141 words - 9 pages

Our country has faced many issues in Social Welfare and many of these issues have become a hot topic around the drinking fountain at work. Everything from the viability of social security, unemployment insurance, supplemental security income, medicare and medicaid, private insurance and the managed care system, section 8 housing assistance, and food stamps and temporary assistance to needy families. These issues generate a lot of strong feelings on either side. In this paper I will be discussing arguments for and against drug testing for welfare recipients, particularly recipients of food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
To understand the current issues it may be helpful to understand first the history of welfare in America. For the greater part of American history there was no federally funded “Welfare” program. The poorest of the poor were aided by private organizations, churches and occasionally by small state programs (Snyder, 2004). Welfare is viewed as a social problem and has been the subject of major reform acts for decades. It wasn’t until 1935, during the Great Depression, that Congress enacted the first form of welfare, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC).. The federally funded program was designed to assist widows, orphans, and divorced or abandoned mothers and their children. The program slowly grew over the next several decades, but accelerated during the 1960s and 1970s and was renamed Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The federally funded program was created to temporarily help those in need, it was never meant to make the recipients dependant on the benefits or the program. In the early 1990s, with the number of recipients now reaching over 14 million, it was apparent that welfare dependency was an issue. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. The new program, called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was limited to pregnant women and families with children and ended welfare was we knew it. The new program differed from the previous ones in several import ways. It eliminated welfare entitlement, established work requirements, and put a five year lifetime limit on cash assistance. Recipients were no longer guaranteed welfare benefits based on eligibility. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act primary focus was to help recipients become more self-sufficient through proper job training and thus gaining employment with better wages. By implementing a few stiffer requirements, the number of individuals receiving assistance decreased by almost half within the first five years.
Over the past couple of decades, there has been an explosion of legislative proposals for laws that would require welfare recipients to subjected to drug testing in order to receive state assistance. A number of these proposals would require everyone applying for welfare benefits to be drug testing, while others would only require a...

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