Welfare, or financial assistance provided by a government entity, may require drug testing similar to employee drug testing. The drug test is used to determine whether an individual has ingested drugs within a certain time period. A failed drug test may prevent the individual from continuing to receive public assistance, such as food stamps or money.

Which States Allow Welfare Drug Testing?

At least 13 states have passed legislation that allows government agencies to screen or test citizens receiving public assistance for drugs. Some states include:

  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Arizona

Are There States Proposing Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients?

In 2015, at least 16 states have proposed legislation requiring some form of screening or testing for drugs for welfare recipients. These states include:

  • Kentucky
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Montana

Is Every Recipient Required to Undergo Testing?

No. The kinds of individuals selected to undergo drug testing depends on the state law’s language. Some states only allow the testing of people who are believed to be taking illegal drugs. Other states require people applying for assistance to be drug tested or go through a specific screening process.

Has Florida Enacted a Drug Testing Law?

Yes. However, Florida’s drug testing law was declared to be unconstitutional by a district judge in 2013. The decision to stop drug testing was upheld in 2014.

Is Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Legal?

It may be unlawful according to the Florida ruling. A Floridian sued the state because it required welfare applicants to undergo drug testing. He claimed it was unfair to test someone for drugs when there was no suspicion of illegal drug use.  The court agreed and ruled in the Florida resident’s favor.

Should I Contact an Attorney Regarding Welfare Drug Testing Legality?

Welfare drug testing is complex. Drug tests that are positive may result in an individual losing access to needed public assistance. To understand more about welfare testing and how it may affect you, contact a government lawyer.