President Trump Wants Welfare Recipients To Pass This Test Before Receiving Benefits

Should welfare recipients have to pass a test to receive their benefits? That’s what the Trump administration is proposing: allowing states to require mandatory drug testing for those seeking food stamps, according to a report from the Associated Press. The plan seeks to provide states with flexibility when implementing federal programs for the poor as well as making stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients.


The Associated Press reports that, according to an administration official, “the drug testing plan would mostly apply to people who are able-bodied, without dependents and seeking some specialized jobs. The official estimated that roughly five percent of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could be affected.”

The AP obtained internal emails that indicated that officials were waiting on an announcement about the proposed testing requirement, with Jessica Shahin, associate administrator of SNAP, writing: “I think we just have to be ready because my guess is we may get an hour’s notice instead of a day’s notice.”

Some states have been unsuccessful in implementing drug testing for food stamp programs, with judges blocking efforts and, AP reports, in Florida in 2014, “a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that drug testing SNAP recipients is unconstitutional.”


Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking for states to have “greater control over SNAP,” noting, “As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people.”

He added, “We want to provide the nutrition people need, but we also want to help them transition from government programs, back to work, and into lives of independence.”

While the discussion about potential changes to the SNAP program continues, Ed Bolen, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities think tank, brought up a number of valid questions about the consequences and legal issues of requiring drug testing for food benefits. He explained: “Are people losing their food assistance if they don’t take the test, and in that case, is that a condition of eligibility, which the states aren’t allowed to impose? And does drug testing fall into what’s allowable under a state training and employment program, which typically lists things like job search or education or on-the-job experience? This is kind of a different bucket.”


Additionally, the USDA hopes to replace a portion of food stamps with food boxes containing shelf-stable items, known as “America’s Harvest Box.”

Those weighing in with comments on Fox News’ coverage of the proposed requirement had plenty to say, with one person noting: “Government Assistance of any kind should be limited to 1 year, except for the elderly and handicapped. I’m sure there would be other exceptions too, but for able bodied people, that should be it. Giving people welfare and unemployment for any longer than that takes away their pride and desire to work.”

Another commenter added that they weren’t sure that requiring testing to receive benefits would be helpful, writing: “I am not sure this will change or solve anything that is wrong with these programs… Better to find the offenders taking advantage of the programs. They are all supposed to have someone that watches over these folks. How about a few house calls to see if that address exists and the right people live there. That would be a great start and it would not be illegal, I think.”