Saturday, August 9, 2014

Revisiting drug testing welfare recipients: Was there really no savings?

Several states have tried to implement this on some level. but federal courts have struck it down. I fail to understand why I can be forced legally to take a drug test, but welfare recipients can't. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will overturn lower courts someday. Working folks shouldn't be held to a higher standard than those on the public dole. Interesting, you were severely misled by the mainstream media on state welfare recipient drug testing results. You may have heard it wasn't cost effective and only a miniscule percentage failed. Well, that isn't exactly correct. The numbers most cited are from Florida where drug testing for new welfare recipients took place in 2011, before a Federal Judge stopped it. The final numbers cited are 2.7% failed or failed to complete the test.

Via The New York Slimes:
From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.
Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.
As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.
And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.
“We saw no dampening effect on the caseload,” the document said.
Strangely, or not so strangely, the NY Timers never cites the number who refused to take the test. Instead, they cite an undocumented  "internal document" that claims the they did not have fewer cases. AP reported those numbers via CBS here.
Nearly 1,600 applicants have refused to take the test since testing began in mid-July, but they aren't required to say why. Thirty-two applicants failed the test and more than 7,000 have passed, according to the Department of Children and Families. The majority of positives were for marijuana.
If you add the 18% refused to the 2.7% that failed, it comes to a 20% reduction in caseloads and spending. That clearly is a savings. Federal Courts need to either allow welfare drug testing or completely eliminate drug testing for everyone. They look like a bunch of liberal hypocrites at the moment.

1 comment:

Bluegrass Pundit said...

If you wonder why the NY Slimes claim a few over 4000 took the test and AP reports over 7000 took the test, it looks like cherry picking of the data. The NYT's uses the term "cash assistance applicants."