Making Drug Testing a Prerequisite for Receiving SNAP or TANF Benefits

H.4412 would require drug tests as a prerequisite to receiving SNAP or TANF benefits. There are potential constitutional conflicts with this bill. The federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit previously affirmed a decision striking down a Michigan law requiring drug testing as a prerequisite for welfare benefits. The law, the court said, didn’t rise to the category of constitutionally permissible suspicionless testing. Beyond constitutional concerns, when other states have implemented this policy the costs have far outweighed any savings. In 2013 Missouri spent $500,000 to conduct 636 drug tests and turned up 20 positive tests. Prior to its law being stuck down Florida conducted 4,086 drug tests from July through October of 2011 turning up 108 positive tests. Florida spent $115,000 on the tests and was forced to reimburse welfare recipients who had lost their benefits to the tune of $600,000.

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