Drug testing for SNAP could cost more money than it saves

States Could Drug Test People on Food Stamps Under Rumored Trump Administration Policy

States Could Drug Test People on Food Stamps Under Rumored Trump Administration Policy

Under the Trump administration, states may soon be allowed to require some people on food stamps to pass a drug test before they can receive their benefits, reviving a pointless and stigmatizing policy that has always been favored in conservative circles. Conservatives support the idea. An administration official briefed on the proposal says about 1 out of 20 participants in the food stamp program could be affected.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, condemned the Trump administration Thursday for reportedly considering a proposal that would allow states to drug test certain food stamp recipients - a policy which he called "insulting and unconscionable". Similarly, in Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker attempted to require food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing. Currently, four states test drug felons before they become eligible.

Rather, in general terms, it requires federal agencies to enforce current work requirements, to propose newer and stronger requirements, to find savings (or as Vox writer Tara Golshan puts it, "make cuts"), and to give states more flexibility to run their own welfare programs. Only 23 people actually wound up taking the test, and only six failed and were removed from the program.

For an officer to do this or to seize your property they need probable cause; in this case, a reason to force someone to take a drug test.

In Florida, for example, a plan to require welfare recipients to be drug-tested was struck down by a federal court, as Fox News reported in 2013.

USDA under Trump has not taken a public position on drug testing.


The emails obtained by the AP suggest that a plan could be forthcoming.

"In the area where I live, a lot of people do a lot of drugs, and I feel if you can afford those drugs, maybe you wouldn't need food stamps if that is where your money is going", Robinson said. "If they've been caught using drugs before". "And does drug testing fall into what's allowable under a state training and employment program, which typically lists things like job search or education or on-the-job experience?"

If approved, it would not be the first time drug testing was used in a safety net program. "This is kind of a different bucket".

The USDA in recent months has been under fire for its controversial plan to replace a portion of millions of food stamp recipients' benefits with a pre-assembled package of shelf-stable goods dubbed "America's Harvest Box".

Perdue, whose agency administers SNAP, said while the program helps Americans access nutritious food, "long-term government dependency has never been a part of the American dream".

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