ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Parents asking for government help could be drug tested.
There are many questions about what could become a requirement for the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Some argue the change could put children at risk. Other states have gone this route. The proposal was introduce in December. Currently, only two lawmakers back it; both are Republican.
Next week, when lawmakers return, will determine if the initiative survives. If it does, the state would ask applicants to take a drug test in order to get benefits.
If a controlled substance is detected, that person would be denied. TANF is designed for parents struggling to get by. The program provides, not just money and food, but resources like education and medical assistance. It’s most often used by single mothers and sometimes domestic abuse victims.
Those who work with low-income families say leaving people out to dry will cost the state more in the long-run. Right now, 62,000 families use TANF.
The cost of the drug test would be deducted from a parent’s benefits the first month.
Drug users and welfare face heavy debate. Currently, another bill just recently introduced, would apply similar rules to people seeking help through SNAP.
Illinois is one of 20-states pushing the initiatives. Wisconsin recently made headlines passing a law requiring drug screening for all SNAP applicants.
The federal government says it violates the law. Wisconsin is suing for clarification.