Florida Welfare Drug Testing Costs State $46,000

Officials were told it was a bad idea that would end up costing the state money and sure enough the Florida welfare drug testing program has already proven to be financial failure, costing the state $45,780 in lost taxpayer money over just a four month period.

According to a recent study in the New York Times the program only saw a failure rate from 2.6% of all welfare applicants and in most cases those failed tests were for marijuana use. In the meantime the state was forced to reimburse everyone who passed the test since they were forced to pay out of pocket. That reimbursement rate meant $118,140 was put back into the pockets of test takers at taxpayer expense.

When you take the number of people who were reimbursed and then subtract the amount of money that would have been paid out to the 2.6% who failed you are left with $45,780 in realized losses. Essentially the program costs more to run than the state would have paid out to people with a liking for marijuana.

The size of the test window is pretty small since the state only tested welfare recipients from July through October at which point the program was halted when the ACLU sued the state and a judge issued a temporary injunction to halt welfare drug testing.

The news isn’t just bad for Florida, the state of Georgia recently announced their own welfare drug testing program that is almost identical to the one being used in Florida.

In the meantime supporters of the law point out that the program may have deterred many drug users from taking the welfare drug test in the first place under the realization that they would have ultimately failed the test, thus pushing the 2.6% failure rate even higher and possibly making the program a financial success.

[Image via ShutterStock]