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Drug Tests for Welfare Applicants

Jeers to the Iowa lawmakers who introduced legislation that would require drug tests for people applying for state welfare benefits.

According to this article in the Des Moines Register, on Thursday no one publicly supported the three bills during a House subcommittee hearing. In fact, National Association of Social Workers Iowa Chapter lobbyist Lyle Krewson spoke out against it.

“As a homeowner, I’m not drug tested for my homestead tax credit. As a driver, I’m not drug tested for my driver’s license,” Krewson said. “This is treating poor people (differently) because they’re poor.”

Social workers are committed to equal treatment for all, including people living in poverty. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers Diversity and Equity Webpage by clicking here.

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  1. I’m sorry, but when it comes to free benefits that these people are receiving at the expense of my tax dollar, they should be drug tested. Unfortunately, there are huge differences between applying for a homestead tax credit and driver’s license compared to asking the government to support your lifestyle. If you are poor enough to need government assistance, you should be spending the money you have to work towards improving your livelihood, not getting high.

    Plenty of jobs require drug tests before getting hired. If you’re on welfare, think of it as the government paying you to get back on your feet. If you’re going to do drugs and not work towards getting off welfare, they you should get your benefits cut. Similarly, a person who does drugs and is caught should get fired.

    People here might complain that rich doctors, lawyers, and businessmen do lots of drugs but get away with it. The main difference is that these people pay for their own dumb decisions. At least I know my tax dollars are not going towards their habits. If they happen to get caught and fired, then they deserve it.

    Social workers should work with clients to get them off of government assistance. If individuals are going to squander the opportunities given to them by the government on drugs, then they should be cut off.

  2. I agree that they should be drug tested. If you are going to take free money and goods, then you need to be able to give back to your community. NOT by sitting around doing drugs, causing more issues. I personally have food stamps and medicaid right now for my child. As a person receiving the benefits and also working with the public I can say that I do not see this as a violation of rights. It’s illegal to do drugs, so why is it unfair to require those to follow laws. Similiar to probation, you are given these services in 6 month rounds. All that is being asked is that you are drug free (for yourself, the kids you are probably “caring” for, and the community. We are not going to fix anything with drugs every where. If this is one way to save a few people, then so be it. My opinion.

  3. Tough call! If drug screening becomes a part of benefits application, then it should be for all and not exclusively welfare applicants. *Just a thought, where is the money coming from to screen applicants when caseloads are seriously high in all 50 states?

  4. Drug screening poor people should not be part of receiving benefits. I think it is demeaning and demoralizing. More than likely, people who are receive benefits can’t afford to purchase drugs with welfare money. They are not really living…they are surviving (barely) and often have to resort to other means in attaining drugs (which is an entirely different agenda).

  5. Drug testing for entitlement programs make a lot of sense. It costs money to buy illegal drugs. If you are asking the government (you and me) for money I do not want to supplement your income when you may have some that you’re wasting on drugs. Yes it may be demeaning. Lots of things are demeaning. That doesn’t mean that the individual asking for assistance shouldn’t go through a screening process. I’m glad to read the other comments from social workers who agree! Social work is not about making people feel good, it’s about helping them to lead the best lives they possibly can – however they want to define that.

  6. Most taxpayers are drug tested in order to be employed to support those on welfare. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same of the recipients.
    All people on welfare are not drug addicts just like all employees aren’t but the testing is to screen out those who are.

  7. It is a well-known fact that drug addiction leads to losing your job and requiring help. Screening people on assistance can identify those who need treatment. In Utah, people can get their benefits if they’re found positive, but complete a treatment program successfully with follow-up testing.

  8. Drug tested for what? Illegal drugs? or the even more dangerous legal ones we, through the mental health system, require them to take….the ones we pay millions for, to chemically restrain, and generally maintain in a stupor, all those unlucky enough to be diagnosed with the most costly DSM codings.
    Investigate the economics and follow the money, especially the billions made by the so-called drug treatment industry, along with the so-called drug war. Yes, social workers should strive to move clients off public assistance, but drug testing smells a lot like denying benefits based on value judgements….Almost as if someone still believes that the poor are undeserving….probably ungodly as well.

  9. How about we drug screen the Senate and Congress – We pay for their benefits

  10. Welfare benefits (SNAP, TANF) are predominately consumed by the elderly and children. The adults who qualify for these benefits already have jobs and are the working poor. Welfare fraud cases are at a record low. It would be a colossal waste of money to drug test children and the elderly. The working poor are most likely already being drug tested at their places of employment. I will not advocate shaming the elderly, children and the working poor only to catch a few sad lots who are scamming the system.


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