Drug Testing On Welfare Recipients: Necessary Or Costly?

2309 words - 10 pages

A major issue in society today is welfare and its effect on everyday life for the country as a whole. There has always been a disagreement about whether tax money should be going to assist the needy and if social programs that bring government assistance are the best way that the tax money can be used. The taxpayers of America are concerned that welfare recipients are abusing the system and taking benefits where they aren’t needed or using the money received to buy various drugs. This fear that welfare recipients are just lazy people who don’t want to work and instead decide to “cheat the system” to reap benefits has been a fear among taxpayers that has been particularly relevant in the past few years as more and more states have tried to implement some sort of way to protect the welfare system from those who would try to profit from it. The thought that has been proposed is the idea of drug testing welfare recipients as a precursor to getting their benefits. However, I have found in my research that this will not be a feasible solution to the perceived problem. Although many states are implementing programs for drug testing for welfare recipients, it is not a feasible idea for the immediate future thanks to the headache that come with trying to achieve an accurate report on drug use with welfare recipients, issues with the drug testing system itself, the fact that there are bigger concerns regarding welfare dependency than drug abuse, and the evidence shown by states that have already implemented this practice.
One of the issues that are present is the problem with knowing the parameters that are being discussed when it comes to the topic of drug testing on welfare. It’s difficult to achieve an accurate read on the parameters of the drug testing. For one, it depends on which part of welfare that is being discussed. According to a report given to the House of Representative’s Committee on the United States’ Budget, there are seventy-nine means-tested programs consisting of twelve programs providing food aid, twelve programs funding social services, twelve educational assistance programs, eleven housing assistance programs, ten programs providing cash assistance, nine vocational training programs, seven medical assistance programs, three energy and utility assistance programs, and three child care and child development programs” (United States. Cong. House. Budget 4). With this many programs, it becomes difficult to pin down what exactly is being debated. However, for the purpose of this argument the programs being discussed will be the cash assistance based programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and its predecessor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as these are the types of programs that have been previously used in drug testing welfare recipients in some states. TANF is described by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities as a block grant through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity...

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