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Friday, March 29, 2013

Welfare Recipients Required Drug Testing

People receiving welfare or other government assistance benefits who have a drug problem may find it harder to continue to use if they want to continue receiving such aid. States across the country are pushing for stricter rules, requiring government aid recipients to take a drug tests. This week, both Texas and Kansas are moving forward with bills that would require drug testing for welfare applicants.

A bill that would have resulted in Texas children permanently losing benefits based on a third failed drug test by a parent was amended. The author of the bill agreed on the changes, ensuring that children would continue to receive benefits while their parents take part in drug treatment programs, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

The state’s Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve the bill due to the new changes.

Applicants with previous felony drug convictions, or a prior positive drug test, also would be required to undergo drug testing. Those applicants who tested positive would lose their benefits for a year, but could reapply in six months, after they passed another drug test. Children would receive benefits regardless of their parents’ drug test results.

In Kansas, the House approved a bill that would require drug testing of applicants for welfare or unemployment if suspected of drug abuse, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Under the new bill, Kansas applicants who fail their drug tests would be required to take part in drug treatment and job skills training that is funded by the state and federal government. If they applied and failed again, they too would lose their benefits for a year. Anyone convicted of a drug felony would be barred from receiving welfare for five years and a second conviction would lead to a lifetime ban, the article notes.

The Kansas Senate has already approved the measure.

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