Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Tennessee Law knocks 4 people off of Benefits list

Right in the middle of the Bible Belt in Tennessee there are now four less people on state benefits.  These four people refused to take the drug testing that Tennessee is starting to offer for welfare applicants.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the new practice in Tennessee and at least 11 other states require drug screening or testing for public benefits. 

A recent legal challenge to a Florida law requiring drug testing of all applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — in Tennessee, Families First — was upheld by a federal appeals court, which ruled that the law violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Tennessee's law differs from Florida's in that it requires applicants to first fill out a brief written questionnaire about drug use, rather than testing all who apply. 

Applicants who answer "yes" to any of the questions — if they have used illegal drugs, lost or been denied a job because of drug use, or had any scheduled court appearances related to drug use in the prior three months — are then asked to take a drug test. The Department of Human Services pays for the tests, which cost $20 to $35 each.

Applicants who refuse to take the written test or the drug test are disqualified from receiving benefits. Applicants who test positive are required to take a second confirmation test. If the results are positive again, the applicant is given a referral to a drug abuse treatment or recovery support group and has 10 days to verify enrollment or placement on a waiting list.
Applicants can receive benefits as long as they continue in the program and test negative once it is completed. The department provides necessary child care during the drug treatment program.

What Tennessee asks?
Tennessee's drug testing questionnaire for applicants for cash assistance has three questions:

1. In the past three months have you used any of the following drugs?

2. In the past three months have you lost or been denied a job due to use of any of the following drugs?

3. In the past three months have you had any scheduled court appearances due to use or possession of any of the following drugs?
• Marijuana (cannabis, pot, weed, etc.)
• Cocaine (coke, blow, crack, rock, etc.)
• Methamphetamine/amphetamine type stimulants (speed, meth, ecstasy, X, ice, etc.)
• Opioids (heroin, morphine, methadone, opium, buprenorphine, codeine, etc.)

Source: Tennessee Department of Human Services

802 answered no to all questions
4 refused to take the questionnaire and were disqualified
5 passed drug tests after answering yes on the questionnaire
1 tested positive for drugs

The legislative body in Tennessee has been busy the last few months.  In July, a law was passed that made it possible for pregnant women to be "prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant”. 

This new law regarding welfare has eliminated five people from the public benefits and we can only assume more are to come. 

Photo Source: World Atlas
To learn more about this law go to WBIR

No comments:

Post a Comment

09 10