Get Cash Assistance From Florida — Take A Drug Test First?

March 24, 2011

Following more than an hour of debate and questions, a House panel on Wednesday voted to require all recipients of temporary cash assistance be tested for illegal drugs before picking up their checks.

The House Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee approved the measure (HB 353) that mirrors a Senate plan (SB 556) that also requires recipients to pay for the tests, which will run between $10 and $25.

“I’ve talked to constituents who say they do not want their tax dollars being spent on people who would potentially buy drugs with it,” said House sponsor Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness.

A Department of Children and Families study done between 1999 and 2001 on a pilot drug testing program recommended that it not be expanded statewide, saying there was little difference in earnings of recipients who tested positive or not.

The Department also estimated that the test would disqualify few who now receive funds.

“This is outrageous,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, who said the only upside of the bill was that it had three more committee stops. “Hopefully this will never see the light of day on the House floor.”


39 Responses to “Get Cash Assistance From Florida — Take A Drug Test First?”

  1. This country on January 7th, 2016 8:12 am

    It is sad that people abusing the system take away from people who actually need help. What about the single mom who cant afford $25.00 to take the drug test to receive assistance. Due to my knowledge you have to pay for the test before you can even be considered to receive any funds. What about the women with kids who was in a domestic violence situation with no money. I mean I understand that people abuse the system but sometimes people just need some help to get on their feet. I agree that a drug test is a great way to help eliminate abuse of the system, but when people actually need the help they cant get it due to these new rules.

  2. money maker on September 27th, 2011 11:43 am

    Every organization, business, company is government supported. Drug test should be taken by everyone at random. Citizens do not want there tax dollars to supply drug users but in fact tax dollars supports a pointless war for our troops, abortion etc. Drugs have been here forever and will remain. You can’t control how an individual chooses to live. If drugs benefits them, then so be it.

  3. Cindy on April 17th, 2011 12:23 pm

    It is long overdue!! It really upsets me when I see this one couple that have 3 children and are getting $500 a month in food stamps. This same couple inherited $100,000.00 last year and are still receiving them!! At least once a month they have a dinner get together and serve either crab legs or rib eye steaks to several of their friends and they do not buy them on sale!!! I also know that they still do cocaine and smoke weed. Now please tell me why they should continue to get food stamps, free dental, free medical etc!!

  4. wonderful!!! on March 27th, 2011 9:05 pm

    i think its a great idea!! i also believe you should have to take a drug test to get any assistance!!!!! if your not just using the money for drugs then you dont have anything to worry about!!! i get sick and tired of seeing our tax money pay for people around here to be lazy and on drugs! so i think its wonderful!!

  5. eab on March 27th, 2011 2:06 am

    Test everyone! Drugs are against the law! Test all of our citizens. No one should be against testing! Drugs are against the law! Test public and private employees! Test welfare recipients! Military personnel! People who have drivers licenses! People who attend college! Test homeless people. Test Medicare, Social security recipients and military retirees. They are all on government programs! Test ‘em. Test ‘em all!

    Drugs are illegal and dangerous. Every good citizen should be willing to line up at the testing centers at least once a month. It’s unamerican not to support drug testing for everyone! It’s Unchristian!

    Let’s catch ‘em all, fire them, take them off welfare, and then lock them up!

    It’s time we started acting like Americans again. Anyone who doesn’t go along with the majority should be ostracized or removed. C’mon folks! Let’s take our country back!

    And by the way…my neighbor sometimes shoots off fireworks. Shouldn’t he be tested??!!

  6. sassey on March 26th, 2011 5:51 pm

    I agree with (my two cents ) it is not right for people that have used drugs and beer to be able to receive disabilty why should people get out and work for them .When alot of us are more disablity than the drug heads and people to lazy to get out there and work But it is the doctors that help them to get it I know of four people that receive it that are in better health than I am. thats why when some of us get old enough to retire there won”t be anything

  7. art on March 25th, 2011 3:41 pm

    i am just amazed at people going along with this tom foolery. just amazed.

  8. Just is on March 25th, 2011 2:21 pm

    Anyone who does get a drug test and knows it’s coming can “study.” If they are’nt
    testing blood or hair, they are’nt testing.

  9. steve on March 25th, 2011 2:18 pm

    YES i think this is a great idea i have to take a drug test to work and pay for welfare and foodstamps so those who recieve the 27 percent of my check EVERY WEEK should have to drug test also

  10. Go Patriots on March 25th, 2011 2:01 pm

    I agree with the testing policy. If you can afford to buy drugs then you probably dont require public assistance. Added benefit, it would reduce the amount of folks on public assistance and make it easier for the people that really need it to get it. Shorter lines, less waiting, less paperwork for employees.

  11. Tony on March 25th, 2011 11:40 am

    How about all the county and state workers that are hooked on Lortabs ?

  12. MISS K on March 25th, 2011 10:53 am


  13. art on March 25th, 2011 6:22 am

    good point

  14. huh on March 25th, 2011 12:27 am

    Government forcing you to pay for something, I thought thats why everyone didn’t like Obamas Health Care plan, because it was forced.

    Now you have a so called Republican over stepping his role and going to force you to pay for this drug test, How is that any different?

    Its an insult to the people of florida

  15. bjay on March 24th, 2011 11:17 pm

    My knee jerk reaction is the same as most of you. The problem I have with it is there are some ignorant druggies that wont learn and then their children have to do without. Im not sure what a perfect solution would be but Im for anything that helps the kids and gets the parents off drugs.

  16. tallyho on March 24th, 2011 8:09 pm

    So your down on your luck, and have very little money so you find a drug dealer and give him a couple hundred dollars instead of buying something to eat for yourself and the family. Something is wrong with this picture. But what the heck tax payers are paying for it. Tax payers did not get you on drugs and should not pay you to get off them. Grow up and take resposibility for your lives!! If you are knock down get up .

  17. Anna on March 24th, 2011 7:40 pm

    @ art. Drug testing should not and is not meant to belittle someone who has come upon hard times. I know I can be the next one needing help and if so, test me. I wont mind. If you are not guilty, you got nothing to worry about.

  18. My Two Cents on March 24th, 2011 6:05 pm

    I didn’t know till a few months ago that you can get disability for being a crack head and or alcoholic . What good would drug testing them do because they are getting paid for being a crack head? But I am for the testing!!!

  19. art on March 24th, 2011 3:12 pm

    how humiliating to be poverty stricken in these times. there are so many who are there through no fault of their own and now to be treated with disrespect. i can see this drug testing business for employers who have to make sure every employee have sound mind and body while operating heavy machinery or interacting with our kiddos, but this? it would make more sense to have all persons holding a drivers license to come in at their nearest DHS periodically in order to keep the privelge of driving. now that would be a real cash cow for these drug testing companies.. be careful, you may be the next one that falls into poverty…this economy is shaky at best.

  20. dnax on March 24th, 2011 12:29 pm

    I am not against drug testing for persons recieving a TANF or (cash) benefit. I am a current recipient and I can tell you that a “lazy” person wouldn’t last a day in the WAGES program which enforces mandatory requirements set forth to recieve the cash benefits. This program requires 35 hours a week job skills training, internal/external job searches, workshops, etc. until employment is obtained by an individual. It appears to me that many people do not seem to realize this. I am fully aware of the points being made, I’d just like to ask that everyone not be so judgemental and refrain from stereotyping persons who are working their very hardest to succeed. At any time you could be the next person out of work and in need. Just saying….

  21. sassey on March 24th, 2011 12:14 pm

    yes it is about time ,and i know there is alot of people that need to get food stamps that can”t get them. that are not on drugs and i know of several people that get them and sell them to people to have money for drugs and beer So that means they don”t nedd them they just tell a bunch of lies and use someone else ss, card

  22. David Huie Green on March 24th, 2011 11:33 am

    “Three cheers for The House Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee.
    The same should apply for all receipients of ANY government ‘help’ programs.”

    But what if they needed the money to buy illicit drugs???????????

    David feeling fake pity

  23. Why? on March 24th, 2011 10:40 am

    Someone wanted to drug test people who get Social Security.
    I guess you don’t realize that they paid that money in and it is their
    money not yours. I do feel that if you asked them if they would take
    a drug test you might be surprised to find that most would happily

  24. danielsgirl on March 24th, 2011 9:54 am

    I too get drug tested when I go to WORK. I agree that those who get government assistance (for ANY reason) should have to be drug tested as well. This has been LONG over due!

  25. Man who needs asst on March 24th, 2011 9:17 am

    How is it that when you need help cant get it from the state or else where but these who quote i aint gotta work i get foodstamps and a check wish i did an the same guy who said this will get cut out because he sells drugs to add it up he makes more then 90,000 a yr mmmmmmmm all i want to do is eat shame shame shame

  26. concerned citizen on March 24th, 2011 9:10 am

    This is long overdue.. There are far too many people right now who are on drugs and being supported by the state and federal government in one form or another!! We certainly don’t need any more.. I agree with educator that anyone getting any type public assistance should pass a drug test before any benefits are approved.. I also think that they should be subject to random testing thereafter.. I do not want my tax dollars to support their habit..

  27. Yellarhammer on March 24th, 2011 8:14 am

    Its about time.

  28. commonsence on March 24th, 2011 8:06 am

    Notice anytime the Bills for Testing for Drugs and Alcohol never include Management Personel, the very ones that make the Rules and yet break them. Who else is in a more sencitive position than the one who makes up the Rules?
    If the rules are for all employees, reciepants, before you can get a job, why not include everybody recieving a pay check. OH NO! THIS WON’T FLY OR EVEN GET OFF THE GROUND. PLEASE LETS BE REAL, do as other countries, legalize it, you will have less crime, save money, and rid our selves of those who want to die early. Whats next Social Security, SSI, Retirees,

  29. xpeecee on March 24th, 2011 7:49 am

    @ Animal Lover:

    I agree with you, completely!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. speaking for the non-druggies that need help on March 24th, 2011 7:43 am

    Yes, I can see how this could be a big benefit. But, if the test is negative then no the individual should not have to pay for it, only if it is positive.
    Not all people who need assistance are druggies! My family has had to have help while waiting for my husband’s disability to go through…trust me…the cash assistance received is not as much as you think! Try paying all your bills with only $300…if it wasn’t for having a great family to also help, we would be out on the street with no electricity, water, vehicle, anything! We NEVER bought anything illegal with the cash, nor sold the food stamps. So please don’t be assuming ALL who receive help are doing that just because of some who are.
    So yes, it you want to make the ones with a positive test pay, then go for it, I have known some who do that…but don’t punish those who innocently just need some help!
    Trust me, if we hadn’t honestly needed it, there’s no way I would have asked for the help~ there is a lot of crazy stuff you got to do to get any help…it’s only easy for the ones who have ‘connections’ with some of the caseworkers etc…and yes some get it just because they know the right person who can push it through or tell them how to fill out the application in the ‘right’ way…or that keep having more babies so they can get more!

  31. kaye on March 24th, 2011 7:32 am

    my 2 cents, is this ala are fla ,it should be to both

  32. really on March 24th, 2011 7:15 am

    bout time

  33. Tina on March 24th, 2011 6:57 am

    YESSSSSSSSS and its about time! NOW, I say also test the one’s who are getting disability checks, workers comp, FOODSTAMPS too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have to take a drug test in order to work, so the government can take away MY money and give it to deadbeats and people acting crazy so YESSSSS, they should all have to take a test.

    Yesterday is NOT soon enough!

  34. SW on March 24th, 2011 6:21 am


    C’mon, let’s ramp this one up.

  35. just saying my 2 cents on March 24th, 2011 6:05 am

    if u get any kind of gov…assistance i feel they need to be drug tested….then half of the people would be deined…

  36. Educator on March 24th, 2011 5:45 am

    Why not test before a handout? All welfare recipients should be. Let the cost come out of the money they are handed. I don’t have a problem with state employees being tested either. Something is bad wrong when students are expelled for drugs but the leaders get caught and the union backs them and sends them back to the classroom. Practice what you preach.

  37. Mike on March 24th, 2011 4:37 am

    I have to take drug tests to WORK for a living. People that are getting assistance (whether a layoff or lazy) from tax payers should have to take tests also.

  38. JQC on March 24th, 2011 4:06 am

    Yes,expand it statewide!! If they fail the drug test they should have to attend drug and alcohol counseling,with proof of completion as well as submit another drug test if offered assistance again. If they fail again,then no more assistance. Boo hoo and cry all they want about being hungry or not having electrity or water,if they fail,they weren’t putting the money in the right place anyways. Only their own fault!

  39. Animal Lover on March 24th, 2011 3:27 am

    Three cheers for The House Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee.

    The same should apply for all receipients of ANY government ‘help’ programs.

    I’ve known of people who ’sell’ their food stamps for drugs or drug money. The people whose taxes pay for such programs would surely lose their jobs if they tested positive for illegal drugs on the job. Therefore those who benefit from those taxes should be held to the same standard.

    Now, I’m sure some of you will say it would make for more criminals – well, the extra tax money that was saved could be used for bigger prisons.