Welfare Applications Rise after Drug Testing Ends

The state saw a 10 percent increase in the number of people applying for welfare after a judge ordered the state to stop testing applicants for drugs.

Now the question is being raised: Were drug users waiting for the tests to end before applying for welfare?

From July through October, 4,000 Floridians were asked to take drug tests because they received government assistance and lawmakers didn’t want state money spent on drugs.The ACLU called the tests unconstitutional and sued the state.

A legislative report of the testing program showed less than three percent, or about 100 people tested, failed. Those people were kicked out of the cash assistance program, but everyone who passed was reimbursed the $30 cost for test.

Over three months, the tests cost taxpayers $45,000.

A month after a judge ordered the state to stop the tests, the Department of Children and Families reported a 10 percent spike in people applying for cash assistance.

The November spike isn’t evidence welfare recipients are using drugs.

Joe Follick, a DCF Spokesman says it’s normal for the state to see an increase need for cash assistance in November because temporary jobs in farming and tourism end.

Statewide, it’s estimated that seven percent of people use drugs. That’s more than double the amount of people who failed the state’s drug test.

When testing was in effect, 40 people, or about one percent of the people tested, canceled their testing appointments. There’s no data explaining why they canceled, but since the drug testing stopped some of them have reapplied and been granted cash assistance.

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