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Indiana House Passes Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients

Indiana House Drug Screening Welfare

The Indiana House has passed drug testing for some welfare recipients. The bill was passed on Monday and requires all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to fill out a written screening test for possible drug addiction.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 78-17. After the written screening test is filled out, those identified as possible drug abusers would have to undergo a drug test.

Should the test prove to be positive, the applicant would have to go through a drug treatment program before they can receive benefit payments from the program, reports WTHR-13.

Now that the bill has passed Indiana’s House, it will go to the Senate for debate and approval. While the bill passed easily, some Democrats did not approve of the program over worries that there are not enough affordable drug treatment programs in the state.

Some rural areas have no programs nearby. The Houston Chronicle notes that Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) stated of the bill:

“There are no safeguards to help people. We don’t know that in the 92 counties of Indiana whether or not there’s a treatment plan or treatment program for them.”

The bill’s sponsor is Republican Rep. Jud McMillin from Brookville. He stated that the bill is aimed at helping drug addicts, as well as the home environment for children exposed to people who abuse drugs. Federal laws don’t allow drug testing for recipients of Medicaid or food stamps.

But there is no regulation for drug testing on Indiana’s TANF program. McMillin explained, “They’re the people who need the most help. This is designed to get them help.”

The Legislative Services Agency, a nonpartisan organization, estimated that the testing program would cost about $1.2 million to start, though McMillin believes the expenses would taper off in later years. In an effort to stop the bill Democrats tried to have legislators face drug tests as well.

McMillin claimed that the effort by Democrats was a distraction, though it could be offered as a separate bill. But Rep. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) asserted that it was hypocritical to have TANF applicants undergo drug testing without the legislature submitting to drug tests as well.

Niezgodski also questioned spending $1.2 million on a new program when millions of dollars have already been cut from state programs.

Do you think Indiana should be allowed to drug test TANF applicants before giving them assistance?

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29 Responses to “Indiana House Passes Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients”

  1. Kelly Marshall

    I think if they are going to enforce TANF recipients to drug test they should make people who get food stamps get it too! Food stamps are easily traded for drugs because people get a card get a PIN number trade the card to get drugs give the PIN number to the other person and apply for another card and another number. It's too easy for people to get issued new cards!! Plus then the merchants that take the food cards don't ever look at I.d. Cards to see if its the right person using the card! If you are going to test one test all!!!

  2. Jamie Streeter Kiefner

    I can't imagine anybody but the people that are applying and on drugs that would say No. From this article it seems they are making it too complicated. Line the applicants up….(who cares if it takes hours….they don't have a job and their daycare is probably also paid for by employed taxpayers… so they have time) If they pass then they can get the benefits, if the fail a urinalysis test then make them go get their own treatment and come back when they can pass a screen and documentation they completed their treatment and test them again.

  3. Debbie Crowell

    What about the children in these families? Granted…people who are receiving aide from the State should not be spending that aide on drugs…but if the point is to SAVE the state money…and THAT is what we are talking about here…there is NO WAY they will be able to drug test everyone. The facilities are not there…nor the funds…and if they decide to "pick and choose" who to test…it's a can of worms that no one wants to open. It seems Kelly Marshall has all the answers…and Jamie Kiefner is a bitter snot! It IS complicated Jamie…we are ALL taxpayers at one time or another..and heaven forbid should YOU ever be down and out and be treated like you aren't deserving! "who cares if it takes hours…they don't have a job and their daycare is probably also paid for by employed taxpayers"…You need to get that big ass chip off your shoulder and quit judging people IN GENERAL! Yes, there are people abusing the system…no doubt, but FIX THE SYSTEM…don't lump every person or family into one and treat them like criminals! How about if they make the participating locations that take EBT cards and/or food stamps follow more strict guidelines. THAT wouldn't cost the state any more money and the kids in these families would have FOOD! I just LOVE judgmental people who have tunnel vision and think they have all the answers!

  4. Michael Pollard

    I find it odd that people want to spend almost half of what the program funds on drug testing..they already found that drug testing for benefits is cost prohibitive in Arizona…no one screams when the rich hide their money to avoid paying taxes…people almost accept the thousands or millions that we are cheated out of… its easier to point the finger at a social class that you can see and that is "below" your class…it makes you feel better about where you are…doesn't it?

  5. Bruce K Edwards

    The Indiana House didn't look at the results of this same law which was passed in both Arizona and Florida? In both cases they found nearly ZERO positive drug tests and the state wasted MANY dollars paying for the tests.

  6. Jamie Streeter Kiefner

    You don't know me #1 secondly i have been a single Mom for years trying to work, keep my own insurance and do things the right way. when I needed help I got turned down for assistance multiple times and no one cared about my kids and whether they could eat or not. You have no clue what I have been through in my life lady…so take some of your own advice and back off!

  7. Stephenie Soto

    As somebody who actually needs state assistance I thonk its a great idea to test. Forget the treatment just flat out deny them til they get clean!

  8. Laura Hughes

    No one should be denied food and healthcare EVER! Instead, offer mandatory drug counseling, and help the situation, not just leave them to break laws so they can eat, and end up in jail to cost tax payers more money. People have to eat! Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Help before you hurt! All this will do is raise crime rate.

  9. Laura Hughes

    So they can do what? Break laws so they can eat? Cost taxpayers more by being victim of crime and then house them in jail? Most drug users use because something traumatic happened to them at some point in their lives and use to cope. Understand that or not, simply denying someone food because of a disease or mental illness is just wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself for being so heartless. Treatment should always be offered before just denying a person food.

  10. Laura Hughes

    It's the same w/ denying felons assistance if they ever had a drug charge. That is just crazy! Most places won't even hire a felon so this just sets people up for failure. They could have been sober at time of need and be denied food just because of 1 mistake. This country blows me away! I have worked all my life and pay my taxes and I was denied food stamps in time of need, I never ask for assistance until I needed it, and to be denied because of 1 mistake I made that already ruined the rest of life when no one would hire me. I think if you going to focus on dollars, focus on what a person has paid into. If they have never worked and paid taxes, offer less benefits, and more programs to help that issue. But don't judge or deny food. I gladly give my money to those in need, even though it has no benefit to me.

  11. Dave Daines

    If one group getting paid by tax dollars has to be drug tested EVERYONE getting paid by tax dollars should be tested! Polititions, cops, teachers………

  12. John Klein

    The rich hiding their $ hurts us cuz we have 2 make up the difference w/ OUR taxes, that pay 4 welfare. ppl cheating the system R cheating US.

  13. Shelley Jimmy Wiegand

    I know people, who on a regular basis. buy pot. They also recieve foodstamps. It just dosn't seem right. They're not addicts, they just like gettin high. They can't piss clean so they can't get a job, let me rephrase they don't NEED a job. We make it so easy for them to be slackers.

  14. Aaron K. Baxter

    Written test before testing? bah, test EVERYONE, just like public officials and most businesses require.

  15. Ralph Cooper

    You can if you make it a condition of receiving benefits, just like you can't get a job today if you don't piss in a cup. You want to get paid, her's the cup!!

  16. Ras El Hanout

    I hope to hell they test for Prescription drug abuse. A far larger problem than some person who smokes some weed with their friends. This failed in Florida and it will fail here too.

  17. Dave Lueptow

    So you don't mind if you have to pay more in taxes to support this testing? Who cares if it costs $1.2 million, right? Would you support drug testing for elected members of government? After all, they are in charge of spending your tax dollars, it should be important to know if they are on drugs while making those decisions, right?

  18. Dave Lueptow

    The members of the Indiana House got their jobs without having to piss in a cup and they receive benefits. They get paid very well and can do all the drugs they want while the taxpayers support their habits. It's sad that you are not troubled by that.

  19. Dave Lueptow

    Cops are drug tested quite frequently. Those who work in public education are drug tested as well, including janitors and school bus drivers. Elected representatives are not drug tested, however.

  20. Tim Fleming

    It's a racist law. The gop punk governor in Florida enacted it and the courts ruled it unconstitutional. The real joke is that you can be turned down for welfare by not agreeing to be drug-tested but you can then go down the block and buy an assault rifle with no background check..!! This is freedom under republican goon bastards!!

  21. Nancy K. Schweder

    They have tested this in other states and in1 state out of 800 tested only 1 came out positive. The expense is another thing. We need that money for the help of sick and the poor. I think the expense is not worth it.

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