Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Drug testing for SNAP could cost more money than it saves

Trump considers mandatory drug testing for some food stamp recipients States Could Drug Test People on Food Stamps Under Rumored Trump Administration Policy
Orlando Vargas | 14 April, 2018, 09:56

More than 40 million Americans are enrolled in the Food Stamp program, but there could soon be a change in the application process.

Concannon, the former USDA undersecretary, said the Trump administration "is keen on weakening the programs developed to strengthen the health or fairness or access to programs and imposing populist requirements that aren't evidence based, but often stigmatize people". The food box plan was tucked into the Trump administration's proposed 2019 budget, which included cutting the SNAP program by $213 billion over the next 10 years. The bill in fact drastically boosts funding for work training.

The Trump Administration is now debating a plan that would allow states to require mandatory drug testing for some food stamp recipients, according to the Associated Press.

Trump's administration announced the possibility of "certain" users undergoing drug testing.

Mahoning County Jobs and Family Services Director Robert Bush said over 44,000 people received food stamps last month in the county. "The idea that they're playing politics with a food and nutrition program, really is a new low".

"The problem is, they work in jobs that pay so little, so they still qualify for the benefit", he said. Recipients in this category are between 18 and 50 years old, and may have additional work requirements beyond those already required by SNAP. If someone is addicted to drugs, most people think they need help and support, not to have their benefits ripped away.

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway has tried to head off criticism that the broader work requirements would kick people off SNAP by increasing funding for training programs and expanding the list of activities that would meet that training requirement. But Secretary Sonny Perdue has promised to provide states with "greater control over SNAP".

"I think we just have to be ready because my guess is we may get an hour's notice instead of a day's notice", wrote Jessica Shahin, associate administrator of SNAP.

We hit the streets to see how people felt about it.

At least 15 states have passed, or attempted to pass, similar laws, with mixed results.

However, some states are likely to raise concerns about the elimination of two policies that make it easier to sign people up for SNAP and to boost their benefits. "If the administration wants to help these people, it ought to be advancing that they get paid a livable wage".

In states where drug testing for welfare recipients has been successfully implemented, the success of such programs, especially when measured against their cost, remains the subject of dispute.

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