On Monday Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill requiring any individual seeking Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) cash assistance who are deemed “reasonably likely to have a substance use disorder” to undergo drug testing before they can receive cash support.
Does this program provide effective incentives for addicts to get clean? Or is it essentially punitive? Does this mean families with an addict head of household will have to jump through more hoops to pay their and their children’s expenses? How does this help?
Those who test positive for a controlled substance may still receive cash assistance if they enroll in and complete an offered drug treatment plan. Cash assistance will end if any follow-up drug test (during or after treatment) is positive, with substantial waiting periods to re-apply: 90 days for the first positive test, 12 months for the second. Individuals chosen for drug testing will be determined by their answers to a written questionnaire.
It looks like the screening process won’t effect TANF food stamps or EBT, so reflects a logic that a drug addict cannot be trusted with cash money.
Bryant said the new program will “make a positive difference for families impacted by substance abuse,” indicating that the screening process is an appropriate part of the TANF program’s mission to provide a “safety net for families in need.”
It goes into effect July 1st.
Gov. Phil Bryant’s March 12 press release http://www.noodls.com/view/80D7DF07DB8AEEB593396EC182D7A0FDDB18BD57?1267xxx1394671736