A proposal cutting drug-using welfare recipients off the state welfare rolls is nearing passage at the capitol.
The goal is to protect children in welfare homes where one or both parents are using drugs. The legislation would cut off Temporary Assistance to Needy Family benefits–TANF, the program is called–while making sure the children continue to get their benefits. The bill that has passed the House says welfare case workers who reasonably suspect a benefit recipient of using drugs can order a test for the five most popular drugs. If the person tests positive or refuses the test, that person’s benefits are in jeopardy.
The senate had added a provision saying a TANF recipient who uses drugs but who goes into a treatment program and stays clean for six months from the start of the program will not lose benefits during that time. If that person tests positive a second time, benefits will be cut off for two years. A third-party will handle the benefits for children, to keep the user from spending the money on drugs instead of on Cheerios.
The senate has sent the bill back to the house for acceptance of some changes.