Why Can’t We Drug Test Welfare Recipients? I Got Tested For My Job

image of a specimen cup with urine

Friends of mine who are somewhat liberal ask me, Why can’t we drug test welfare recipients? I got tested for my job. It’s true, many people are tested for drug use before being employed. Even the government tests their employees. That still doesn’t make testing welfare recipients constitutional. If the Fourth Amendment means anything it means the government has to have probable cause to test you for drugs. Having a bias toward poor people, thinking they must all be dirty and on drugs isn’t probable cause and it also doesn’t match with the actual evidence of drug use by people on public assistance.

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Ohio State Senator Tim Schaffer has no idea how public assistance system works

photo of Ohio State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-31)
Ohio State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-31)

I knew when low voter turn out helped sweep the GOP into office in Ohio this past November that we would then see some stupid ideas being introduced. For example, unemployment is 9% and instead of that being a priority the Ohio GOP instead have introduced six anti-abortion bills. The stupidity also led Ohio State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-31) to introduce a bill requiring a urine test as a requirement for state public assistance.

The Ohio Senate is considering the bill that would require anyone applying for heating, housing, medical or food assistance to submit a urine sample.

People who fail or refuse the test would not qualify for aid.

State Sen. Tim Schaffer says the bill will weed people out who abuse the system.

“What the legislation does is, it makes sure that when Ohio taxpayers are asked to provide human services to a family, that the money is being used to buy things for the family,” Schaffer said.

State Assistance May Require Drug Tests

I get a sad kick out of morons like Schaffer who don’t understand how public assistance works. They operate on false assumptions. Schaffer is wrong in his intent that “the money is used to buy things for the family…”

State assistance is rarely actual cash. Heating assistance is a voucher, food stamps are now debit cards, medical payments are made direct payments to the provider from the state. 

A friend pointed out too that a urine sample will usually not detect alcohol. NOR will it detect cocaine if they last used a week ago or more.

People on public assistance have to jump through so many hoops as it is. The false assumption of wide spread fraud personalized in the old Reagan era “welfare queen” smear just doesn’t exist since the welfare reform work in the mid 1990’s.

Tim Schaffer and those who have no current idea how the public assistance system works, need to take a test before they can introduce new laws about it.