Drug Testing for TANF Recipients


Missouri lawmakers are again considering drug testing for the beneficiaries of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The state legislature is considering the bill for a second session in a row. Previously, the bill cleared the house but failed in the senate’s last session. Last Wednesday, the house gave it a second stamp of approval.

drug testingAt present, 112,000 people are under the TANF welfare system. If the bill on drug testing among beneficiaries gets approved by the state and pushes through, some 90,000 people will be tested for drugs.

The Missouri Hotel has been the home of Lisa Dehaven’s family. They were lucky enough to get a slot with 200 families on the waiting list. The Dehaven family became homeless when they moved to Springfield last year. The shelter became their only option for a home, and the TANF the only source of income for her and her husband and their two kids.

Lisa lost the $349 a month allowance when her husband found part time employment four months ago. She no longer qualifies for the type of assistance. This is why she supports the drug testing among TANF recipients. She, like others who have used the program, agrees — free up the funds for those who deserve them.

Missouri lawmakers were at first hesitant, but they signed on afterwards. Other critics of the bill fear that putting stipulations on the TANF will have a chain effect. They say it’s not going to do anything good. But Dehaven and other concerned citizens say that there are a lot of people using the cash benefit for the wrong things.

Representative Lampe says if the bill becomes law, adult recipients of the TANF who test positive for drugs will not be receiving the money, yet their children will still get support. The representative hopes for some changes and amendments on the bill to be presented by the legislation.

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