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Kansas to begin testing welfare recipients

drug testKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas is set to begin a drug testing program next year for some welfare recipients similar to a Missouri program that cost about $500,000 and turned up fewer than half a dozen people who tested positive.

After eight months, and 636 drug test requests, Missouri’s program this year cost nearly $500,000 and found 20 people who tested positive. About 200 others refused to comply.

Like Missouri, Kansas will test welfare recipients who are suspected of drug use, sometimes flagged by tests or a questionnaire.

Kansas Sen. Jeff King, who authored the state’s testing plan, says some people will not apply for benefits if they think they will test positive. He says that should be considered in evaluating any drug testing plan.

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  • redneck idot

    they should do it as a requirement when applying and then do random testing throughout the program.

    • Guest

      I agree as long as the goal isn’t to immediately drop those who test positive. We need to offer a treatment alternative. Remember, there are children who will go hungry in many of these homes if the benefits are stripped. We would be much better off trying to get folks the help they need to succeed so we don’t end up with another generation of children following in these parents’ footsteps.

      • Isaidit

        If they got money for weed, they got money for feed… imho

        • Guest

          In a perfect world, that could be our approach. What you are failing to take into consideration here is that the majority of this assistance is not cash; it is in the form of food stamps that can only be used for groceries. Last I knew, weed wasn’t sold in the grocery store and most people aren’t paying for it on a card that can be traced back to their names. All I’m saying is that the children in these homes deserve better.

          • hater

            guest are you kidding me, all the person needs is the card and pin number, ” here is my card it has $100.00 on it here is my pin, wan to trade for drugs” and nobody is the wiser, what you think that every time people swipe their .EBT card that the screen takes a photo of you. get real man

      • Duh

        The reason kids are going hungry is because their parents are spending their money on drugs….not because they don’t have the resources to get food. They would rather spend the $100 on a gram of meth then go to the grocery store.

        • Chief59

          You have absolutely nothing to support that claim. EVERY TIME testing like this has been implemented, the rate of failure has been around 3%. People complain about wasteful spending, then support programs like this that waste a ton of money and get nothing in return. Even if 10% of food stamp recipients did drugs, the program would still be well worth it, because the other 90% would still be getting use of a much needed program. Quit pigeon-holing an entire group of people.

          • Helping Hand

            Chief, the point is to get people into treatment, not take away their “benefits”. Don’t you believe that people who are using illegal drugs should be provided treatment? It is very reasonable, if we are going to help people get their lives rehabilitated by providing them welfare benefits, they should be rehabilitating their substance abuse / dependence issues to help them make better choices and wiser use of our public funds we are giving to them to turn their lives around.

          • Chief59

            That is not what you said. You said kids go hungry because their parents buy drugs. That is simply not the case for the vast majority of food stamp recipients. Yes, people on drugs need treatment, but that is not what you stated.

          • Chief59

            Also, by continuously changing the name you post with, it misleads the conversation.

          • Helping Hand

            Chief, don’t know who you mean. These are two separate individuals posting.

            Can you respond to my position, ” It is very reasonable, if we are going to help people get their lives rehabilitated by providing them welfare benefits, they should be rehabilitating their substance abuse / dependence issues to help them make better choices and wiser use of our public funds we are giving to them to turn their lives around.”? Helping Hand

          • Chief59

            The problem is, the people on “welfare” do not have a substance abuse problem. 3%? Are you kidding me? The national average is WAY above that. Instead of actually helping people who have substance abuse problems, Republicans enact laws like this that only target those who are already struggling to make ends meet. People on food stamps are not “welfare queens”. In fact, over 70 percent of them are either over the age of 65, or are military veterans. Laws like this are only made to embarrass those who are poor into not taking any more benefits. Either that, or making it much more difficult to receive said benefits.

        • protect the children

          are you speaking from experience? not ALL people do drugs. many people have lost jobs, been hurt on the job, became very ill, etc. i for one do not have a 3 month back up plan of cash, if i were to loose my job. Do you? Quit judging people.

      • hater

        you pee dirty you get dropped of benefits and your children get taken away should be as simple as that.

    • protect the children

      not only is treatment needed but the person has to have a change of attitude, a change of “friends”, maybe family, the whole circle needs changed. This takes major commitment from the person needing the treatment. Who cares for the child/children when a person finally gets into treatment? Knowing where your child is and who is caring for them is fear in itself Usually the person is dependent on others for transportation, child care, maybe even a place to live. IF the state/federal would get it together and implement a “whole treatment” plan, people could and would be glad to change their circumstances.

      • Arthur Doyle

        I appreciate your noble sentiment in wanting to assist people in ending their dependency on drugs, however, it is not the government’s responsibility to manage it’s citizens’ lives. Nor should we want it to be. A “whole treatment” plan smacks of abdicating an individual’s personal responsibility and accountability for governmental control. If an individual chooses to do drugs and, as a result of that choice, becomes addicted to said drugs then what? Have the government swoop in with a “whole treatment” plan to alleviate the consequences of their choices? Sounds like a government bailout on an individual level. In my opinion looking to the state/federal government to change an individual’s circumstances based upon that individual’s own decisions and actions is an interference that for many would be just as addictive as the drugs themselves. Be a decent human being, don’t use drugs, take care of yourself and your children. When did these principles require legislation?

  • Guest

    What am I missing here? The first paragraph says “fewer than a half dozen tested positive”. This means less than six, right? The next paragraph says 20 tested positive and 200 refused to comply. Come on Hays Post, don’t play the game of a certain “[Un]fair and [Un]balanced” news program. Just report the facts. And, yes, I am asking for the true facts. Geez.

  • Questions

    It cost over $500,000 to test 636 people? That’s over $780 per test…….that seems expensive for a pee test doesn’t it?
    Does it seem odd that over 200 refused to comply…..seems they probably had something to hide!

    • It’s a money game

      When I was on community corrections (people make mistakes), granted it was quite a while ago, it was $25 for a wiz quiz. If I failed it, it cost $200 to send it to the lab for further analysis. Somebody is having their pockets lined pretty thick with tax dollars. I support the program but these figures do not add up.

  • Gomer

    I have no problem with the testing program. As a CDL holder I had to take a drug test to get my license and I am subject to random testing to keep it. Welfare should be subject to testing as well.

  • Chief59

    Waste of money. When less than 3% on average fail the drug tests, no money is saved by kicking those who fail off of federal benefits. The program actually costs many times over what it “saves”. At least it isn’t the ignorant proposal of tying benefits to childrens’ performance in school.

    • A_citizen_patriot

      The numbers shown above are from Missouri.

      • alexander

        And are similar to everywhere else that has done this.

        Like Florida.

        Where Republican U.S. Rep Trey Radel (a BIG proponent of such measures) was recently busted buying cocaine from feds. (The alcohol made him do it!)

        Either the program works and we should expand it to ALL who receive entitlements, such as farm subsidies, business subsidies, healthcare subsidies etc., OR the program doesn’t work and should be scrapped all together.

        • A_citizen_patriot

          I would be all for expanding it to all entitlements.

      • Chief59

        The average of all states that have implemented these kinds of tests is 2.6% drug test failure rate. If it was 26%, great, good program. However, at 2.6%, it is simply creating more hoops for people who already have their backs against the wall.

        It’s basically saying, “Oh, you have to work two jobs to just barely make ends meet? Here pee in this cup so we can try to embarrass you to the point that you stop being a “taker”.” It’s a pathetic, thinly veiled swipe at the working poor in this state and country. What’s even worse is the large percentage of (mostly conservative) people that actually believe that all of the people on government programs are drug users who stay at home watching Jerry Springer while smoking cigarettes, procreating like rabbits, and feeding their dogs steaks they paid for with food stamps.

        The propaganda wing of the Republican party is the best at what they do. Reagan picked out one piece of crap person who defrauded the system, called her the “welfare queen”, and the myth was born. It’s sad that in this day and age, people still can’t think for themselves and rely on make believe they hear and see on Fox News.

        It’s almost 2014 people, wake up.

        • A_citizen_patriot

          Maby if they didnt make it optional they would catch more?

          • Chief59

            In Florida, 40 people failed to take the test. Add that to the 108 that failed the actual drug test, and you have 148 of 4086 welfare applicants that you can say failed. That comes out to (SURPRISE!) 3.6%.

            In Utah, a screening process of 4,730 applicants selected 466 potential drug users and gave those applicants a drug test. 12 of them failed. That equals 2.6% That was even with them TRYING to find applicants they thought would fail.

            The Missouri results are above.

            This isn’t about the people who are taking drugs opting out. Even when you count those people, the results are extremely low. Not worth the money. True fiscal conservatives would not be for this type of testing, as it wastes tax dollars.

            http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/20/2758871/floridas-welfare-drug-tests-cost.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/welfare-drug-testing_n_3822750.html

          • Arthur Doyle

            “True fiscal conservatives would not be for this type of testing, as it wastes tax dollars.” Right you are. This program is not monetarily solvent. I speculate the traction of this piece of legislation to be credited to perception. I believe it is as you surmised: voters/ taxpayers believe this law was enacted to protect them from being taken advantage of by the “takers”.

          • Chief59

            Exactly.

          • Achoo son of a Sneeze

            Flordia’s welfare testing law was just ruled as unconstitutional. 4th amendment violation. Their law is different than Kansas they drug test everyone. In Kansas they have to be suspected of drug use. But there is problems with the wording “suspected” who decides that, IMHO. have to wonder how much money Rick Scott will waste defending/appealing the decision. But it provides red meat to his supporters- I’m tough on the takers, saving you hard working taxpayers money.

  • guest1

    if you were a recipient of this program, why would you have a problem peeing in a cup to prove you meet the qualifications to receive the benefits? I know I am clean and I know that I will get this money (in whatever form it comes) to help my family out. It doesn’t hurt. I would think this would help with the stigma that seems to come with this type of assistance.

    • Chief59

      The problem is that it wastes money. Also, it places an extra burden on people who rely on these benefits. Now a 75 year old lady, or a handicapped military veteran has to find a way down to the local piss tester in order to get their benefits. It’s bull crap.

      • guest1

        I don’t deny that it sucks for those examples you gave. And I don’t have the answers to make it better for them. But I do know that there is a lot of drug use out there. I’m not saying it is all the welfare people. There are people that I have worked with in the past and currently work with that I have found out they do drugs, and it has surprised me. Varying kinds, mostly weed (I don’t care about anyone’s stance on how it’s good for you or whatever, fact of the matter is, it is an illegal substance. You want to change that? You work on it, in the meantime, it’s still illegal.) Some of these are people that have random drug testing at work. They roll the dice in loosing their jobs, that is their choice. Same with welfare. I show up to my job clean and sober. My current position does not do any kind of drug testing. However, if a job came up that did, I would be able to take that position knowing that I would never put my job, my source of income, in jeopardy. And I agree with some of the previous comments, it should not be costing the government near as much as they say. It’s not that expensive of a test.

        • Work for luxary

          I don’t care if weed is legalized. Alcohol, pot and cigarettes, soda, McDonalds ect. All that stuff should be a banned substance for welfare money.

          • guest

            I agree 100%. And there should be a requirement for a specific percentage to be spent on AFFORDABLE fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and lean meats and proteins. Unfortunately, “the system” isn’t set up that way. Those on extremely fixed incomes who need assistance have to stretch every penny, and truly healthy foods are often luxuries they cannot afford. Ever wonder why mac and cheese, Hamburger Helper, soda, crackers, bologna, hot dogs and fatty ground chuck are so cheap? Try finding healthy food at a Sam’s Club; won’t happen. They promote big portions of cheap food, and that’s because it costs significantly less. I truly feel sad for people who have to rely on these “benefits”, not only because of their financial situation (whatever it may be), but also because of the way others look down upon them. I mean, read these posts. The lack of compassion and level of judgement makes me sick to my stomach. None of those bashing on people who need assistance can guarantee they won’t be in a similar situation at some point.

          • Chief59

            WIC can actually only be used for certain items. That’s why you see the “WIC Approved” stickers on these in stores.

            I fully agree with everything else you said. The cheapest foods are also the most unhealthy. That is part of the reason there is such an epidemic of obesity in this country. As more people have fallen to the lower classes, it has correlated to them only being able to afford the cheaper, more unhealthy foods. That in turns has helped our collective waistlines to grow. Self control does have some to do with it, but if the healthy food was the cheaper option, healthcare in this country would be in a much better place.

          • guest1

            I really feel a lot of the insensitive things people say about this is because it is money being taken (tax) from people who work their butts off for their paycheck. This money is “given” to people who are not working for it. I think that is what it boils down to, not that people are necessarily looking down on someone who has hit a rough patch and is working hard to better their lives. And of course, the first thing that pops into anyone’s mind at the mention of welfare or assistance is not the elderly couple trying to get by or the disabled veteran. It is the stereotype, which is perpetuated by those we see around us and in the news. It would seem the stereotype is less concerned about what people think of them and are more open about where their money comes from.

          • Chief59

            Unfortunately, the vast majority of the people do work for it. The elderly who rely on the programs worked their whole lives. The military veterans bravely served their country. Only a very small percentage of the people enrolled in these programs fit the stereotype of a “welfare queen” who sit on the couch and just take.

            Also, the stereotype is reinforced by a certain political party that is hell-bent on not only shaming those who rely on the program into submission, but creating a narrative that these people are bad and don’t deserve a “handout”.

  • Chief59

    Hopefully this law is quickly struck down as being unconstitutional, just as it just was in Florida.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/31/florida-welfare-drug-tests_n_4525534.html

  • Chief59

    I’m curious on how outraged supporters of this law would be if new restrictions were enacted that required gun owners to be drug tested to keep their firearms. I have seen several comments that said, “if you don’t take drugs, then what is the big deal, you’ll still get your benefits”. Funny I’ve seen the same argument made for more strict gun legislation. “If you’re a good gun owner, what’s the big deal, you still get your guns?”.

    I know I’ll get hammered about how “guns are a guaranteed right”, and they are two different things, blah, blah, blah, but the point still stands.

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