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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  • by Dave F Location: Altha on Apr 20, 2012 at 07:19 AM
    Sure looks like you could draw a conclusion from this data.
  • by Tyreese Location: Springfield on Apr 19, 2012 at 08:46 AM
    The supreme court has spoken. To test for drugs goes against the laws of the land. My peeps are in the rock business and the law was making it hard to find and keep good employees because the rock business was down. I think the summer will be better because the people have spoken.
  • by Anna Location: Panama City on Apr 19, 2012 at 08:35 AM
    I agree that everyone should have to take one at the onset of their assistance and then randoms based on the same criteria that my job uses. A 10% rise partly the economy and partly those that didn't want to be tested. Not everyone that is on some sort of assistance is abusing drugs, but just like in the general population there are a percentage that are. The same rules that apply to me should apply to all. If you test positive on a random you lose your job or on an initial screen you don't get the job. This is not rocket science folks. Everyone should be tested, if they are not using then they get and get to keep their benefits. Also, there was a percentage that tested positive when they did this no matter how small it was.
    • reply
      by Brian7 on Apr 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM in reply to Anna
      That's ridiculous since every job doesn't require drug testing. Why should all jobs have the same rules? Some require breathalyzer test too, but not all. Why not according to your logic? More people die from alcohol abuse than drug abuse.
  • by Joe Location: PCB on Apr 19, 2012 at 04:06 AM
    Well now, isn't that an interesting observation! Why did they do away with the drug testing? Let's just keep giving away taxpayer money to these druggies to continue their habit. We certainly don't want to offend anyone who is a drug user? How asinine?
    • reply
      by Brian7 on Apr 19, 2012 at 07:53 AM in reply to Joe
      Did you read the full article? About how the rate always goes after the temp job season ends?
  • by pfffft Location: panama city on Apr 18, 2012 at 02:59 PM
    i still don't see how it is unconstitutional that you have to take a drug test to receive the money I earned with my job. while i had to take a drug test to get the job, which i used to earn your free money? the only people who have a problem with the drug test are the ones on drugs. if your not on drugs you pee in a cup for gods sake and the state pays for your test. don't want to pee in a cup, don't ask for my tax dollars.
  • by DaveV Location: PC on Apr 18, 2012 at 02:06 PM
    As has been stated before, the original tests were so well broadcast that everyone knew when they were going to be done. I bet if they did actual random unannounced tests there would be a big difference in results. I'm not saying everyone getting assistance is on drugs, but there is without a doubt people abusing the system and getting assistance that shouldn't be.
  • by Dave Location: pcb on Apr 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
    One of the effects of Greed is to make the greedy person think everybody is out to get them and may get something that they don't get. Manup and admit that the poor are not just taking us for a ride. You had a chance to prove your case but failed.
    • reply
      by Anna on Apr 19, 2012 at 08:37 AM in reply to Dave
      There was a percentage that did fail and no matter how small the percentage just like in my job if you fail you lose your benefits/job. The ones that fail and are taken off make room for someone who isn't abusing drugs and truly needs the hand up.
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