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Welfare Drug Testing In The U.S. Should It Be Required?

2135 words - 9 pages

The idea of helping others is not a new concept. There are always individuals who need a little extra help every now and then to get by. The main concept of welfare in the United States has been around since the 1800’s for that very reason, to assist the needy. During the past 5 years or so, many have recognized a trend in welfare recipients and they want answers. Legislation has been submitted left and right regarding the issue of whether or not individuals receiving welfare should be drug tested in order to receive benefits from welfare assistance programs.
In 2014, this particular issue has taken more precedence over many other issues that are plaguing the United States. Many feel that ...view middle of the document...

In 1939 the act was amended and several assistance programs were evolved such as the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the Unemployment Compensation programs. (Welfare History) In 1996, President Bill Clinton with his promise to end welfare dependence signed a new law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Welfare History). The act was intended to cut down on welfare recipients, but in turn, heightened the amount of recipients. Through this act, the responsibility falls on the states instead of the federal government so long as the states follow the guidelines that federal has set.
States are, for the most part, at their own discretion when deciding what programs to offer their residents. Generally, most states offer at minimum programs such as Section 8 housing, Medicaid, WIC, Food Stamps, and TANF (Welfare Information). Section 8 housing is a program which will assist families to obtain affordable housing. Food Stamps and WIC are similar but WIC only offers basic food such as milk, bread, and formula for babies while Food Stamps gives an individual or family a lump sum dollar amount each month on a debit card to purchase groceries. TANF is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families which offers cash assistance to purchase items that are not groceries; typically these items would include things that are necessary for everyday living (Welfare Information).
The requirements of an individual to be eligible for use of a program can be extensive and vary depending on which state an individual resides in. Basic requirements of an individual are income guidelines, citizenship status, age, how many dependents they have, and whether or not an individual is able bodied to work. For most programs, once an individual or family is receiving benefits from a program, they only have to resubmit information regarding their status once a year.
With the changing times of our society and the advancement of technology, many states now offer online applications for assistance where individuals can apply or re-apply without having to go to the local welfare office. With the ability to apply online, individuals have more of an opportunity to defraud the welfare system because they are not being forced to engage in a face-to-face conversation with a social worker. Due to these reasons, many have pushed the states to form legislation to assist in preventing such fraud.

State Legislation
There are many current laws and legislations regarding welfare and its programs. Most only require drug testing if there is reasonable suspicion. Others are pushing the envelope to gain a more secure welfare system than the one that is currently in place. Many are struggling to get the legislation correct and passed based on what their people want. In those states, negotiations continue to be a struggle and compromise is not getting any closer.
In 2014 alone, Mississippi has implemented their legislation, which was signed on March 24,...

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