Due to the disparity in socioeconomic class in the United States, majority of persons are entitled to welfare assistance by their respective states. These welfare programs aim at improving and enriching the lives of these groups of persons. The groups of persons in question include the old and elderly, the less fortunate and homeless persons among others. Subject to the laws passed in each state of America, these groups of persons are to fulfill a required threshold to be viable to certain aid depending on the type. Aid such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is issued to low income earning individuals with the sole aim of shifting them from welfare to work. Similarly, there is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program (SNAP) whose aim is to provide nutritional assistance to low-income earning individuals in all states across America. The United States government devolved this welfare assistance program to all the 52 states in America. Individual states for example Texas has its requirements one ought to meet before being viable to get welfare assistance from the state. The latter statement is just but an example to show that all states are independent and have their laws. However, this essay will look into the drug testing recipients policy in ten states in America and bring out a comprehensive argument that those above ought to be done away with. Drug testing recipients policy requires individuals to undergo a thorough medical test screening to ensure that recipients of this aid are drug-free. Hence the welfare granted will not be used to engage in drug and substance abuse. The policy provides that one only gets aid when he or she has passed the drug test policy. Individual governments that embrace this policy argue that its sole aim is to ensure welfare is used for the right reasons. The right reasons involve not engaging in drug and substance abuse or, worse still, slide back to former substance problem due to the aid received regarding financial assistance. Individuals in the United States believe otherwise. Because of this policy, many anti-drug testing recipient policy campaigns have been launched across America. This is due to reasons that would be highlighted later in this essay. According to a report on Tennessee program, a less percentage failed the drug test. The report showed that only 37 out of 16,017 failed the test. This was equivalent to 0.23% of the total population screened. What does this show? A small percentage of welfare bound individuals are on drugs and substance abuse and changes ought to be made to do away with this policy (Krieg, 2015).
Due to the strong opinion against this policy, there have been calls to do away with this policy since many believe that its cost-benefit analysis is in the negative. But what does cost-benefit analysis mean? In laymans language, cost-benefit analysis is the study of a given process and determining of whether the benefits outweigh the costs and vice versa. Many individuals across the United States of America believe that Drug testing recipient policy is a waste of taxpayers money since its benefits are minimal. This essay is in full support of doing away with this policy across ten states of the United States of America.
In the year 1966, the United States Congress under the Lyndon Johnson regime passed the major welfare program. The welfare policy created then was the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to replace the Aid to Families with Dependent children. In the welfare programs clause, individuals were and are still required to go through a drug test to automatically qualify for getting this aid. In addition to that, this law required those who tested positive be sanctioned not to receive this aid. However, since then, many persons have had a negative attitude towards it.
First, this policy does more harm than good to the low-class citizens of America. This policy in real sense stigmatizes, stereotypes and criminalize the low-class citizens without cause. Studies have shown that the less fortunate who receive welfare are most likely to abuse drugs. This is in comparison with the middle and high-class citizens. This policy increases the shame many poor Americans have over getting assistance hence pushing them further away from looking for aid. Similarly, it makes poor drug users to come out and seek the help they require that might be the medicine for their troubles. Since one may be afraid of losing his or her benefits when he or she discloses his drug problems, many opt to stay away not to get the assistance they are entitled to (Larsen, 2015). The stigma this policy brings forth is unwarranted for, and that is one of the reasons TANF clauses on drug testing should be reviewed (Covert & Israel, 2015).
Second is the issue of wasting of tax -payers funds in the name of drug testing. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policy of drug testing. Even though the drug testing funds do not necessarily come from the pot that would be directed to TANF benefits, the funds would be used elsewhere. The funds would help aid other programs such as infrastructure development and educational investment among others. States such as Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Mississippi are already spending huge amounts of money to facilitate and rehabilitate a handful of individuals who failed the drug test (Covert & Israel, 2015). The eventual outcome or impact passe is that lots of taxpayers money end up facilitating non-development projects that can be funded by the health department of the state. Hence drug testing has been a costly venture, and it is the taxpayers that feel the pinch more. However much the government argues that the policy does not cost taxpayers money, a lot of factors are not taken into account (Agorist, 2015). To expound on that, factors such as the cost of paying the staff involved in facilitating this drug test processes are not taken into account. Similarly, factors such as the costs incurred in the paperwork for storing records and statistics is not taken into account. Lastly, the cost incurred in public awareness and the nitty gritty involved in tracing of drug content in peoples urine is not factored in also. All the aforementioned factors end up being catered for by the taxpayers. This is a reason why this drug testing policy ought to be looked into or done away with in equivalent measures. In this case, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policy on drug testings cost-benefit analysis is negative, and it should be looked into to ensure its benefits outweigh its costs.
Moving forward, the implications of drug testing for TANF qualifications would have a big blow to the children. Concerning TANF policies and procedures, its aim is to ensure families get back on their feet and depend on themselves later after joining the workforce. The financial assistance provided by this policy assists families especially children. In a case scenario, a child depends on his parents or guardians passe. The TANF aid helps parents buy necessities like food and clothing for their children. In the event that a parent fails the drug test and loses out on benefiting from TANF, he or she fails to provide. The effect is felt on his or her dependants who are the children. The drug testing policy should be reviewed because it disadvantages many families especially the children. A flexible policy should be created to cater for such cases in the event of failure of the TANF drug tests.
Finally, drug testing procedures by TANF are not beneficial since they fail to identify other worse problems such as mental disorder and alcohol abuse. According to a similar drug testing study by the University of Michigan, majority of persons who tested positive were casual users who had no classifiable addiction. Similarly, these program loopholes include not putting into account persons with mental disorders. By testing for only drug and substance abuse, it failed to factor in other serious problems that are in one way or the other related to the aforesaid. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families loopholes on drug testing and screening make the policy a bad move by federal states has it has more likely liabilities than assets it purports to address.
Even though the mentioned many are against the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the state governments of the day think otherwise. The state governments argue that helping drug and substance addicts is part of public policy. Hence, incorporation of drug testing procedures in TANF would go a long way in identifying those with the problem and enrolling them in rehabilitation centers. Similarly, because Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a program that aims at shifting low-income individuals from welfare to work, an affirmative action like this would be prudent. An example of personality who is for the adoption and retention of the said policy is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. During the launch of his candidacy on a Republican ticket, the governor asserted that welfare recipients ought to pass drug screening (Delaney, 2015). This he claimed was to be conducted before anybody receives his welfare financial assistance. In the state of Tennessee 37 individuals out of 16000 welfare applicants failed their drug tests. Despite the dubious results in 2015, many states have still considered enacting this bill into a law. States such as Kentucky, Iowa, Hawaii, Texas, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia among others have advanced this bill in the state Senate (Delaney, 2015). Critics have argued that the Republican Partys legislation hinder low-income individuals from accessing their financial assistance among other things such as favorable healthcare like the Obama Care. This can be traced back to the year 2009 when newly arrived GOP governor of Arizona suggested that states that had suffered from the 2008 recession would begin testing adults to ensure they were in good shape to receive benefits. Those for this program argue that drug testing is a reasonable measure in ensuring that the public workforce is drug-free for a better America. The Grand Old Party legislations have so far been geared towards making welfare assistance hard for the poor and less fortunate to access. Additionally, they believe it is prudent enough for drug testing since many employers complain of job applicants in most cases failing their drug tests. They also argue that even though the costs of drug testing outweighs the benefits, preventing taxpayers money from supporting substance abuse is worth the cash (Delaney, 2015). Those for it argue on the grounds above.
In conclusion, the truth of the matter is eminent for all to see. The enacting of this policy in American states would bring more harm than good. Harm in this case involves the costs to be incurred now and in the future, the stigma it is alleged to cause, broken families just to mention but a few. The federal governments should review its drug testing policies on TANF beneficiaries to ensure all the loopholes are closed, and foreseen costs factored in appropriately. Serious problems such as mental incapacitation and alcohol abuse problems should also be factored in. Then again, it will be the best decision for Congress and the federal governments to do completely away with drug testing of individuals who need assistance. This would reduce problems of stigma amongst the recipients thereby giving room for persons with drug and substance abuse to come out. The cost benefit analysis for this problem is on the negative hence reviewing it or doing away with it are the solutions to improve efficiency in TANF.
Agorist, M. (2015). Drug Testing Welfare Applicants Costs More Than Twice What It Saves. Mint Press News. Retrieved 7 June 2016, from ht...
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