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March 31st, 2009
09:05 AM ET

Drug testing for benefits

Lawmakers want food stamps and unemployment recipients to take random drug tests. CNN's Christine Romans reports.
Lawmakers want food stamps and unemployment recipients to take random drug tests. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Everyone has heard about a random drug test to get your job.

How about a drug test to get an unemployment check?

A urine test for food stamps?

The number of Americans collecting jobless checks is at a record, and lawmakers in a number of states want to tie some strings to those benefits.


What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Filed under: Business
soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. Bev

    Unemployment benefits come out of my paycheck. Why should I have to take a drug test to get the money I put into the system? If I have a beer, will that disqualify me from getting my unemployment benefits? I thought Republicans wanted smaller government? This was thought up by someone who never lost their job and HAD to go on unemployment! I agree, let's test all the people in government. WE pay THEIR salaries!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  2. Tim, Seattle

    Yep, when times get tough, beat up on the poor and jobless. Its what we Americans who are insecure about our own jobs do best.
    We all need a target I guess.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  3. Tom

    What is this going to cost to administer? it seems the politicians still don't get it. At a time when Americans are hollering to stop using our tax money to stop supporting drug criminals in our jails, here comes another idea to increase the cost of a program.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  4. Ron

    How are we not doing this already? Why does this idea even need discussion? I do not want my tax dollars funding drug purchases. For that matter it is frustrating to be in line at the grocery store and the person in front of me is buying steaks while I am buying mac and cheese to save money and the person is wearing expensive jewelery and getting into a nicer car than mine and they pay with food stamps. WTH

    April 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  5. Peter

    I understand that people use drugs as a means of coping, being a recovering user myself. However, i see no error in logic for the government to require that to get the tax payers money, you must be a law abiding citizen.
    Unreasonable? I see no harm. Its not like taking these tests are mandatory, if you don't like the rules, don't play the game.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  6. JoshG21

    Hey, if we are drug testing people who get government checks why not test those getting social security? In my opinion that system is far more abused than unemployment plus the cost to the taxpayer is far greater.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  7. Sandy

    Suspect it will never pass constitutional review on privacy rights. Employers can at least make the case that employees will have access to private data and sensitive information. What is the rationale for public benefits, that most unemployed workers have paid taxes to support anyway. What happened to "he's my brother." We are all in this together people. Stop demonizing your neighbors because you feel you are so perfect. While you sip your drug of choice (beer or martini).

    Think this politician is getting some hefty donations from the companies that manufacture drug testing equipment?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  8. MacGirl1985

    Go for it. CNN, let's see a web poll on this.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  9. Erin

    Welfare yes, unemployment no. I'm laid-off, and am busting my tail trying to find another job. Blood, urine or hair test me ... I haven't failed a drug test EVER and I'm not going to.

    As for welfare, my uncle and his kids apply for welfare because they can't keep a job. They can't pass a piss test and hold a job. Me on the other hand, I can't remember the last time I ever got fired for anything ... why should I suffer and have to be treated like a miscreant because the economy sucks?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  10. Keith

    I'll take the test– right after every elected official does the same. After all, we wouldn't want our tax dollars spent employing drug users, would we? To suggest otherwise is hypocrisy.

    Seems the pol is looking for a scapegoat. God knows all would be well if the unemployed weren't smoking that half joint on the weekend. Perhaps we'd have all been better off if "W" had done just that. But I digress...

    April 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  11. Bobby

    Hey Nancy, get a clue..... All of our military have to take random drug tests. I'm retired military and I had random drug tests my whole career. I'm a goverment worker now and we get random drug test also. If these people want to get benefits from the government they should be given random drug tests also. If I have to pass a drug test to support them, then they should have to pass a drug test to recieve the benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  12. dca


    What is the basis for your position?


    April 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  13. Jim

    Let's face it.........those that are against this bill take drugs!

    Those that are for this bill may take drugs but are willing to pay for their own. We (U.S.) are addicted !

    Why should I pay for "freedy the freeloader" B.S.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  14. LAURA

    FINALLY someone is making sense!! I’m behind this 100%. Let me tell you the truth as I know it. Everyone I know on foodstamps and unemployment is either a drug addict or alcoholic. They sit around getting high and drunk all day. My sister gets almost $400 a month on foodstams and nobody has checked out her background. The kids she gets stamps for were taken away from her and she still gets paid for them. She has more pills and booze then anyone I know but eats like a queen. Lobster & filet mignon! All her neighbors are on unemployment and drink top shelf booze to flush down the Vicodin that are prescribed for their disabilities that they get paid for by the state. I think the whole system needs to be monitored better and random testing is a start.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  15. shortgus

    absolutely 100% drug testing for government welfare benefits. when you work with folks that hold their hands out for all the freebies, i say take a drop of blood first from that hand [or a strand of hair] and if they're clean, give them a break if they deserve it. [a helping hand, not a hammock.] there are countless 'pc' barriers to those of us handing this stuff out to those expecting all their entitlements –with a smile. if i get tested as a 'giver' then you get tested as a 'taker.' trust me, these people are not ashamed to ask for welfare. they demand it. it's a lifestyle. it's generational. it's out of control. and guess what; workers smoke dope, get an injury on the job and WIN their workers comp claims because they appeal it until workers comp gives in, making the employer's rates go up. stop it, folks. we need to stop all of this.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  16. Cid

    If my taxes pay for it, and I wasn't 'clean' when I paid them, why should I have to be 'clean' to get them back? What next, only the wealthy can drink alcohol? Smoke cigarettes? Vote republican?....

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  17. BJ

    You see this is the problem! Politicans like "THIS GUY" trying to step on unemployment for the masses of people going through this BS that they created? Are you serious? This is some BS! Are you telling me America that we have come to expect this in our elected leaders? This guy should have to go and live where the real people live. He wouldn't last one day! Punk! That's what he is because he is speaking about something that he has NEVER had to get. Let's see if he could get through several days or weeks of NO HOPE in the inner city or out in a rual area. I wonder if he or anyone in his family has ever done or is STILL DOING DRUGS? You see this is a deversion from the real issue. Let's not forget (not so long ago) the same government also said that blacks were only 1/8 human and kept them enslaved for 100's of years (an many of them still today). I hope none of you still believe that this is how it should still be. But, they find ways to justify everything. When are we going to stop electing people like this idiot who sets there own agenda. AMERICA CHANGE IS HERE!Thank GOD for President Obama! get this BS corrected!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  18. Amy

    If you're going to test unemployed welfare recipients, ya better drug test everyone else who gets tax payer dollars!...all the politicians, city legislators, city officials, state job workers, VA hospital employees, teachers, etc.. etc... Heck lets test all of Americans and then who ever tests positive gets to go to a concentration camp.. drug tests?.. another BAD IDEA from REPUBLICANS! Maybe we should test their IQs and boot them from office.. derilicts!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  19. dca


    I really didn't understand how naive (read that as stupid) people are when it comes to what it might take to get a real job.

    The expectation is that you are reliable, drug-free and honest.

    Should we not expect the same from people who we are subsidizing with government funds?

    If your answer is no......I kind of wonder where your IQ hovers.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  20. kurzer

    Sounds like a good idea only if we include all public dollars. Why not include those who collect farm subsidy money...a program dollar for dollar the equivalent of food stamps, why not include those who receive stimulus or bailout money....does the good Senator not know wall street runs on cocaine? Include the wealthy with the struggling , include ALL public money and it's a darn good idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  21. SC

    My job was eliminated because of a buy out. I had to take a drug test before I was hired at another job. You better believe I agree with this. I had to take test to earn my money and they should have to take drug test to get MY money. Politicians too!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  22. Jack Wolf

    If they stopped giving benefits in this state (SC) to people that did drugs, they would all starve to death. Why, I've even snorted coke with Sen. Clyburn at a party once. 😉

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  23. Joe

    I love how the economy being so bad has unleashed the plain meaness in people. Lets not talk about how we got into this mess or figure out if this is how we really want to live; let's just tear each other apart. You think things are bad now. If things get worse you will see the darkness side of American's. People seem to think they have a right to live a certain way others don't. Arrogance + Ignorance + hardship = anger and turns normally reasonable people into animals only concerned about their situation, their suffering, themselves and their love ones. This will likely be just one draconian law that will pass with "will" of the masses due to people not being able to deal with hardships they should have seen coming. But then this the age when opinion has trumped reality and rationality.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  24. MR. j

    Yeah, the cops are going to put 85+% of DC in the clink,. They are mostly black, or there are not enough Al Capones in "Mexico", ie South America yet. Already 50%or more of the our population uses some drug. Yes the Boston Tea Party and Revolution is coming. The fruit of Stupidity and poverty. On the other hand lets help these People, They don't even have health care to go to the the shrink for some Legit relief. They can only afford street drugs, not the nice designer drugs like Abilify or Cymbalta, Marinol, or Aderall that they probably need to make them productive. In my book a drug is a drug. Maybe there are just are not enough People shot dead yet, in this War on Drugs . Let us not forget who we are, We are Human, We are all inter-related. But time will tell, History repeats itself. We will see it happen here, blood in the streets, brother against brother, MAYHEM, with the prohibitionist perspective that exist here.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  25. Robin

    How about requiring that the people receiving government benefits to be able to speak English? If they cannot, which is true for many new immigrants, then they should be required to take English classes in order to receive benefits. Not learning our country's language keeps immigrants poor and uninformed. I'd also like to know why having someone prove that they are here legally is so wrong. The way our system is set up now, we are rewarding people who are here illegally with food stamps, rent assistance, monetary assistance, social security, and health insurance.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  26. Steve

    How can this be debatable??? WE (the taxpayers) are providing to people that NEED them. If you have money to buy drugs use it to pay the rent and buy food.
    This is so clear cut, I can't believe it is even a question. You CANNOT get something for nothing. I personally thing public service should be a part of this; even if it is stuffing envelopes or helping at a food bank.
    No wonder we are becoming a nation of gimme people. We wonder why kids are growing up with the attitude they deserve, have a right, to anything they want. WE have taught them. In this case it took a village to ruin the child and society in general. Let's try to start changing. Responsibility, Respect, and honor need to be brought back.
    Yes we can!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  27. William

    This is an excellant idea, and it is way past time for it. I hope it passes!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  28. gman

    Thanks Laura !!! I was confused as to what I was, a drug addict or an alcoholic.... geez, I just got laid off and now I have to choose between these?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  29. Steve

    What a stupid idea. What would be the purpose of drug testing people before they get unemployment? There are no safety concerns at play. And where do you draw the line? If someone gets laid off and then later that day smokes pot, is it OK to deny unemployment compensation? What about the alcoholic that gets laid off and drinks himself into a stupor every night for a month? He should be able to collect unemployment while the person that smokes weed once cannot? The fact is, only in very limited situations can you conduct random drug tests as a condition of continued employment anyway. So why in the world should we permit drug testing as a condition of continued UNemployment? It's just another example of retarded conservatives getting distracted from the issues at hand. We don't need to be punishing people who are unemployed right now. They've been punished enough. It's embarrasing to be an American when these types of laws/regulations are even considered.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  30. JFox

    This is simply illegal. I am obligated to contribute to the unemployment insurance fund. If I loose my job, I expect the benefits, period. Otherwise, then let's have the unemployment insurance contribution be elective. Applying for a job is another story, as you are asking for a privilege not a right.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  31. Megan

    ABSOLUTELY! I've never "blogged" before and feel so strongly that this should happen that I wanted to voice my opinion. The goal of welfare should not be a permanent solution and if a person is choosing to use drugs they wouldn't qualify for a job, and therefore continue to collect money that they don't deserve. Maybe if its harder to get a handout, people will start being more responsible. AND...just to really get the opposition worked up, I think there should be mandatory birth control as well. As soon as someone on welfare gets back on their feet and a job, then by all means have more babies. Just stay off the drugs...

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  32. Diana

    Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?? My family was on ADC back in the 50's and you had to have a garden, could not owe a TV and the social worker could come into your homeanytime she wanted.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  33. Gordon

    What do you do about false positives? Punitive policies, while politically popular, are dangerous without some form of due process. We need to protect ourselves against the sentiments of the mob, which is why we have a bill of rights. Put away the tasers, put away the drug kits, and let the legal system do its job.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  34. Bill

    Dig deep and I bet you will find that lawmakers that come up with this crap have big investments in the co's doing the testing. You dummys that agree with them are just being led to a new U.S.S.R. Anybody can beat a drug test, but it still has to be paid for, thus the trick.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  35. Fagin

    Wait, one more, no benefits for anyone who watches the absolutely sick television programs that the bulk of American idiots watch – out of decency, I won't name them, but anyone who watches the tripe being doled out today is no better than a druggie. Or, mebbe that's why they are drug addicts?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  36. LAURA

    No Josie the point is if you care about your family and need the benefits you won't be concerned about the random tests because you are CLEAN! The ones who don't pass will get help.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  37. tlc

    everyone deserves to have food, medical, be warm, & have a roof over their heads – everyone –

    April 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  38. steven

    its amazing to me how many posters here think nothing of giving up just one more right to privacy...lunacy...drug test the guy who came up with this nonsense!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  39. Bob

    Obviously, too many self-righteous politicians have too much free time. Drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed... with a large part of the tax revenues being used for rehabilitation of addicts. Our jails have too many inmates who are guilty of nothing more than getting caught with small quantities of drugs which were for their personal use.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  40. Shell

    Nope, not a good idea. Don't judge everyone on a what you think a few people do. I don't care what people do as long as the children are fed and yes, I am a taxpayer of a significant amount. So, who is going to pay for the testing? Me? Nope, I don't think so. No one cares if your husband or whoever else has to pee in a cup for their job. Not my problem nor care. That's their choice to work where they work. So, if someone's unemployment runs out and they need to feed their kids you're presuming someone is guilty by wanting to require them to pee in a cup to put some food on the table. Nice. I'm sick of big brother and I won't stand for it for some of our most vulnerable citizens( a step away from homelessness for some). Good to know there is so much compassion out there from a bunch of judgmental folks.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  41. Aaron

    This is a very good idea for many reasons. Anyone who says this is a violation of a persons rights, you should study up on your crimes code. Doing any type of illeagal substace is against the law, thus those breaking the law should not be entitled to the same optional government assistance as those who are not.
    This would not only provide a real and progressive incentive for people out of work or relying on the government to stop doing drugs, but this should also help with the growing drug crimes going on within the United States. This is one of the most practical idea for stopping drug crimes suggested in years.
    Fot those that think this would be expensive, consider the millions of dollars both in government aid and various law enforcement issues this would save tax payers. The only "rights" a person has when they break the law are those laid out by the constitution and their Miranda Rights. Any patriotic american should be all for a legislative bill that would force people to stop breaking the law.
    Government aid going to those who dont deserve it and drugs are two of the biggest problems in America today. This bill would effectively tackle both these issues and in the long run save America more money than it would cost

    April 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  42. Herk, WV

    NO! And that is what I told my Republican Representative. Reasons to not do it, among other things, it punishs those who either cannot get a job or has a job that pays less than minimum wage that is not enough to pay the rent, buy clothes, and feed the children.
    This is just another Republican screw ball bill that that was introduced to draw attention to it's sponsor.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  43. Brenda Texas

    It's a good idea and will perhaps deter someone on welfare or unemployment from causing problems while they have so much free time. I really hate to think that my tax dollars are supporting someone's habit. Maybe an offer of drug counseling for the first offense and cut off funds after the second offense. I sure had to take drug tests before being hired on my last two jobs. I also agree that all
    government employees be given random drug testing.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  44. Tony Cesnik

    Let's lay off this guy!! What a jerk!! It's degrading enough to lose a job and face a bureaucracy to get your unemployment benefits. This is violation of the 4th amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Perhaps if the unemployment applicants urinate on the
    drug testers desk, or in his/her shoes, they will get the message.
    Put THIS guy in the unemployment lines where he belongs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  45. josette

    Those of you ranting for drug testing. Your remarks are ugly and sad.
    You know, sometimes I truly wonder about people. There is a streak of solid mean-spiritedness in this entire thread; ranting about drug testing like it's a moral failure rather than a symptom of our sick, materialistic society. The economy is a mess, we have 2 wars going on, there are tent cities in the US and you have the sick and pathetic gall to rant about ways to refuse benefits to some people in need? What about their families? Do their children starve so you can feel fat and self-righteous? I don't condone drug use, but I understand that addiction is more a disease than a moral failing. Yes, there are always those who abuse, but they are in the minority. As a nation, a group, Americans are supposed to look out for each other in times of need. If there were more rehabs, counselors and compassion maybe there would be less drug use. It is not our place, as individuals, to judge and demean others. I believe your words are shameful and mean.

    One more thing – being poor is neither a crime nor a sin. It is a circumstance of life. Selfishness, self-righteous judgment of others and lack of compassion are a lot more offensive and harmful in my opinion. I've read that God chastens his people when they get too full of themselves. Unfortunately, we are very comfortable with being superior, looking for someone to blame or judge. If you look around you, the people in line for food stamps these days look a lot more familiar than ever before. The tables do turn and we are chastised. As we certainly deserve to be.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  46. Lisa

    Who pays for the drug testing and the people required to administrate the program? The unemployed who can't afford it? The taxpayers who already pay more than our share? Please think before you create more laws.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  47. Larry

    I think a Drug test Prior to and random during ALL Welfare and Jobless benifits programs should be required. If a possable recipiant doesn't like it they can walk away. I have to comply with these requirments to work and my taxes are what they want so they should have at least as rigid requirments..

    April 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  48. Rentia

    I agree drug tests should be mandatory!!! Not saying because you need assistant you are drug user but the point of the program is to help families back on their feet. I work hard for my money and I sure don’t want to support anyone drug habits. Also think about if the person using drugs has a kid to support that’s so not fair to the kids.
    I also think if the fail the drug test the kids should be moved to a safe environment.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  49. Amy

    are you serious?.. drugs should be legalized.. the US would make billions of money on taxation. Republican lawmakers are idiots!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  50. sg75

    I think this is a great idea but it will never work. Who is going to pay the bill? There is a cost to this. And what about the children/dependents of individuals that test postivie for drugs and don't receive money/benefits to support their family? Innocent children paying the price for their parents/cargivers bad choices?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  51. LAURA

    FINALLY someone is making sense!! I'm behind this 100%. Let me tell you the truth as I know it. Everyone I know on foodstamps and unemployment is either a drug addict or alcoholic. They sit around getting high and drunk all day. My sister gets almost $400 a month on foodstams and nobody has checked out her background. The kids she gets stamps for were taken away from her and she still gets paid for them. She has more pills and booze then anyone I know but eats like a queen. Lobster & filet mignon! All her neighbors are on unemployment and drink top shelf booze to flush down the Vicodin that are prescribed for their disabilities that they get paid for by the state. I think the whole system needs to be monitored better and random testing is a start.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  52. Ellen in Florida

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! I had to take a drug test to get my job so why not for anyone who wants to get my tax dollars. All candidates should have to drug test also. If our tax dollars contribute to anyone's benefit they need to drug test.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  53. TommyZ

    Hey Willy.. read my last post. Your kids already know how to beat a drug test.

    And as for being a no-brainier, how would you know, considering your obvious lack of intelligence.

    BTW, 5% of all drug tests return false positives that ruin peoples lives. I should know. I have to call the employer and tell him to fire the poor sap wo got caught.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  54. B.F.

    Only if they audit all of congress's taxes as well as auditing the taxes of every management person of every company that received bailout funds. Follow that with a buisness tax audit for all companies receiving public funds. Then all said persons must submit to a drug test and have whatever perscription drugs they are currently taking posted publicly online. Then if all that passes muster then maybe drug testing for unemployment funds can be considered.

    Consider that you have to pay into unemployment by actually working. So if someone gets laid off and chooses to smoke a joint and that would result in a denied benefit. The person behind you in line at the unemployment office has convinced their doctor they need a pharmaceutical that relaxes them but they still qualify for the funds because they received a perscription. WT#!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  55. gman

    Your past employers, the ones that laid you off, pay into unemployment, it's not all tax money...
    If we're going to go that far, lets start drug test everyone in the Capital... their getting paid with tax money..... Oh.. wait... some won't pass....

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  56. Duarte Teixeira

    Oh, drug testing should only be the beginning. I'm very, very tired of seeing drugged out moms (and dads) with dirty and malfed children being rewarded with benefits which are subsidized with my tax money. Oh, no, I advocate proof of elimination of reproductive capabilities for some of the gross offenders, proof of public volunteerism (beautify America), proof of citizenship or legal residency status (if you're here benefits, PERIOD), etc., etc.

    Who are we kidding? My state and federal income taxes just increased today, my SALES TAX just increased TODAY to 8.375%. That's for most EVERYTHING I purchase in my county here in California. So please don't insult me by sugesting that it is unfair to impose some sort of civility on some of these leaches of society, which is the majority of those taking up a big portion of my hard earned money.

    The sooner I get these blood sucking scums out of my wallet the better.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  57. LaughingNinja

    It's easy to get around the testing anyways. Most substances are out of your system within a few days. Only hair follicle testing will go back enough time and that cost hundreds of dollars.

    This is more bureaucratic nonsense.

    Alcohol is a drug!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  58. Kepano

    I say hell to the YES! How are you supposed to find a job when your on drugs? They aren't going to hire you if you test positive for being on drugs! Finally someone who took an idea I had years ago and ran with it. You want help from the government? HELP YOURSELF FIRST!!! Get off the crack and change your idiotic mentality that everything should be given to you...

    April 1, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  59. Fagin

    Well, two sides, one says you should be able to do whatever you want, not hold a job, goverment support, but get plenty of kids – the other says work for a living or die, along with those kids

    But as others have posted, the drinkers get their test first!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  60. Dee

    Give me a break!! Let's make it harder for people who are on unemployment. I don't think so. And think of the expense. Who is going to bear that? The people on unemployment, or the GOVERNMENT! Yeah, let's spend some wasteful dollars here.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  61. Joe

    You do reallize that umemployment is not welfare correct. Ever heard of hear Federal Unemployment Insurance? You pay into it based on you income along with your employer. The amount you can get in benefits is decided by the amount you are making. For those that don't get it. You would be similar to an insurance company saying after a flood that they won't honor there policy if you are found drunk or on drugs. Think before form your knee jerk opinions.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  62. Shirley

    Yes. Benefits should definitely depend on a negative drug test. Why should tax payers pay for people to lay around and do drugs?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  63. Chris

    Yes, this is an awesome idea.

    If people getting unemployment are on drugs, they are less likely to find a good job. We should do everything we can to be sure that people getting government checks are, if pysically and mentally possible, heading in the direction of becoming productive members of society.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  64. Bob

    I think we should also screen for diabetes and heart disease, after all I do not want my hard earn tax dollars spend on somebody that is unhealthy and could die any moment.

    Ridiculous idea this drug screening.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  65. Brent

    I think this is a great idea, Why should we give benefits to someone that will not take a job, but has money to buy drugs. There are jobs out there people you just have to swallow your pride and take a job that you are over qualified for. the old say is beggers can not be choosers. I would rather work at Mcdonalds as a fry cook than not have food in my stomach.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  66. Sonya

    I have never taken an illegal drug in any form, but this sounds expensive to me. Lab work is not cheap – how do they propose that the taxpayers foot the bill for this brain cramp?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  67. mike m

    Absolutely!!! Why? Because it's OUR TAX MONEY paying these benefits!!! If someone elects to pay for illegal drugs to sustain a habit, why should my tax money go to help them with benefits, like food and health care. Spend the money on food and healthcare... not illegal ... I said ILLEGAL... drugs!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  68. William

    It should be a no brainer. No job = No money. No money = No drugs.
    If my tax money is going to help pay for government benefits, then I have a right as your to require you to take a drug test. When I was laid off this past September from a six figure a year job and applied for un-employment benefits, I was doing it of my own free will. It's not a requirement to take government money. When I found a great job in January of this year, I had to take a drug test. If I didn't want to take a drug test, I could have looked for work elsewhere.

    I choose to be paid by a company that requires drug tests. If you choose to use the benefits the government provides, you need to follow the rules. If you want to do the drugs, find a job that will let you. But please don't ask me to support your illegal habit. I don't care what you do on your own dime, but when it's my money it's my rules. Just ask any parent of a teenager.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  69. Kyle

    So dad loses his job and smokes pot.....sorry kids no dinner tonight. Will we include alcohol or cigarettes? Maybe we should only allow them to buy healthy food to lower the medical benefits too. C'mon folks stop trying to legislate personal agendas by attaching opportunistic bills to get press and help CREATE JOBS. That may help actually lower our unemployment costs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  70. SissCo Kids

    To select a group of disadvantaged people for drug testing is discrimination and adversely affects the elderly, disabled and poverty stricken. How about a drug test for members of Congress and the Bank executives? How about a drug test for members of Wall Street?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  71. Kat

    I believe that the drug testing is a great idea. In my job (government-related), I am subject to random drug testing as well I should be. I, honestly, don't want to support people who can't or, better yet, won't get their life in order. Maybe go one step farther, instead of giving them their benefits, use that money to put them in rehab. At least, that way they will be in an atmosphere to get help....just a thought!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  72. donna

    I smoked pot – snorted coke but I did in with my money. Not a single mothers tax money while she is trying to work and support her babies. I may have had my fun but I have my pride. I don't think you should be able to but ciggs ether with my tax money but thats another agument,

    April 1, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  73. Rochelle

    What are you who support this thinking? Do you not realize that this is opening a door that should not be opened?

    Where the heck are your consciences? Where is your common sense? It may not stop here...just because "we" are law-abiding citizens what is to stop holier-than-thou lawmakers from judging us based upon their own values and finding us lacking. Don't think it can't happen, it is being discussed here and now.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  74. Keilani

    If you're using other people's money, you don't have money to spend on drugs. If you can afford drugs, don't ask for someone else's money. And don't give me the bull about it being "insurance" that you've paid for, as an employer I can tell you that the government hits up employers to pay benefits to employees that have been fired or laid off. Often even for those that voluntarily quit. The amount of unemployment paid seldom goes to those that pay it in the most. What you've paid in will not cover your benefits by a long shot. Just like regular insurance. The difference is that it's other taxpayers picking up the bill. Go for it with the drug testing! Illegal is illegal, it's not helping anyone to get a job, and it certainally isn't making anyone a better employee. If you receive government benefits, you obey the laws set by the government. That should be a given.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  75. JC Michigan

    Should we screen all executive who get bailout money to fix their greedy mistake an IRS audit?

    When are these jokers going to come up with something constructive.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  76. Susan

    ABSOLUTELY all recepients of any type of benefit should be drug tested.
    ABSOLUTELY!!! Government employees, too....why not.... sure!
    For all of the harding working people supporting the recepients of government benefits, drug testing is a WONDERFUL idea.
    If you're innocent and have nothing to hide, there's no problem.
    If you're on drugs and a recepient.....make your choice ....what's your priority.....drugs? benefit assistance?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  77. Karen

    No, No and No

    1. It adds more costs as well as one more layer of bureaucracy to the process.

    2. This is just illicit drugs? I realize alcohol and tobacco are free but they are still drugs. Both of which cost us more than illicit drugs, but that is another issue.

    3. Getting and applying for benefits for most people is humiliating enough. As the layoffs continue more and more of us will be unemployed. Maybe even you, the reader, yes you. Ask yourself, do you want to pee in a cup in addition to having to fill out all the paperwork and go and talk to a worker about your financial situation that you are already be embarrassed about because you never thought you would be in this situation?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  78. Dillon

    People who are down and out like the unemployed and poor use a little pot to make their life easier day to day. Take it away and we will get straight and realize how messed up the current system is. From health care to many other issues. The government does not want that to happen.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  79. Mark

    Excellent idea. Why should hard working taxpayers be forced to subsidize the illegal habits of those receiving any form of government assistance. I would even go further and mandate a smoking test for anyone receiving government assisance. You fail – you loose. Private enterprise does it so why shouldn't the government do it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  80. Tim, Seattle

    If you want to have the cost of Unemployment benefit programas go WAAAY Up, then by all means drug test.
    Good luck with all the lawsuits and have fun with all the beuracracy it will spawn to manage it.
    When you start cutting the safety net, you will get a riot, a lot of hungry kids and a ton of lawsuits.
    Stupid, stupid idea.

    But what about bankers and law makers? I think since they are getting public funds, they should be drug tested too! Fair is fair.
    You cant just punish the poor.....unless you are in West Virginia, apparently
    Buit then again, this policy is from West Virginia, one of the poorest most uneducated people in America. Go fihure

    April 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  81. Phillip Bias

    i dont think that i drug test should be required to recieve your fair share since to be quilifed you had to pay a tax just for the unemployment. so basicly you buy insureance thru taxation and then not quilify because of someone elses moral values. taxation with reresentation. just another GOVERNMENT WRONG

    April 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  82. Kim

    The increase of unemployed in this country is not a result of drug use, but the expansive mishandling of finances and greed in this country. Every unemployed person 's job loss,I am pretty certain, is not drug related, nor every state assisted person has a drug problem. It appears that this is another way of shifting the blame for the mess this country is in. Why not subject every government official to random drug testing before taking office and maybe throw in a blood alcohol. People are drowning in debt in this country and no one is throwing out a life preserver. Filing for unemployment already requires jumping thru hoops, don't add insult to injury by making us do drug tests.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  83. littlebigfoot

    I don't have a problem with it, as long as these lawmakers are willing to submit to regular drug testing. My tax dollars should not be wasted on corrupt politicians either. Fair is fair after all.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  84. kansasb

    Only if the bankers, wall street employees, CEO's and any other person that gets government money is tested. I think the idea would be dropped really quick.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  85. jacob

    hey, if they can afford drugs, they dont need our taxes paying their unemployment.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  86. guity

    Actually, this makes good sense. This is exactly similar to a parent that tells their adult child that as long as that adult child continues to depend on the parent, the adult child will have to be home by a certain hour, not bring friends home for sex, and yes, not take any drugs. If the aduult child really wants his/her freedom, then they can find a job and move out...

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  87. Linda

    I am for drug testing. I had to take a drug test to get my job and have random testing done to keep my job. Why should people getting assistance not have the same standards to get their money that I have to get my paycheck. As for the comments on kids starving, how many are starving or being mistreated by parents who use their money to get drugs. If they lose their kids they may straighten up and abuse might go down.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  88. TommyZ

    To all the closed minded people who think you should spend $60 for a test to get $200 worth of benefits, please read on. The dirty little secret is that 90% of positive test are for marijuana, and that only happens when you are too stupid to realize that any test for reffer can be passed by simply drinking a gallon of water and taking 2 B-12 vitamains to keep you urine yellow. They would not have hair test as to they cost $250 each and they can be beat by using shampoos that are readily available on the web.

    Any how do I know this? I am a certified US DOT drug testing agent. Drug testing is a huge waste of time and money.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  89. Ann

    Everyone needs to stop and think – is it not a conscious choice the first time someone decids to use drugs? Yes, unless we're talking about babies born addicted because of their mothers addiction. The fact that everyone has to make a decision whether or not to do drugs to me is enough reason to say – yes, test anyone who is asking for assistance. If they can't pass a drug test to get benefits then they won't be able to pass one to become EMPLOYED! Being employed is the only way someone can help themselves to a better life.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  90. gman

    Unemployment wages are earned by working (drug free) and added to by your employers, as opposed to food stamps that are given out if you have no or below means income.
    I don't think anyone should have to take a drug test for unemployment earned over years of working. I am unemployed for the first time in 25 years and collecting unemployment for the first time in my life. I worked/earned the account that I'm drawing from.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  91. Sam

    No problem, as long as you can opt out of unemployment insurance and have that added back in to your check because you opt to use drugs. No taxation without benefits . . .

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  92. Dean

    Absolutely. It shouldn't be random should be across the boards...100% required. The losers are spending my tax dollars on drugs and then sitting around high and un-motivated. This will get them off thier butts. If they can't find a job, give them a rake, a paint brush or a broom, and let them help clean up America!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  93. Cobra

    I am a physician in a small, rural town. Poverty is rampant, and drug use/abuse is even worse. The drug use increases crimes of all kind, and so a terrible cycle continues. I am all for drug testing for unemployment benefits. I personally see many, many people on public assitance that consistently use drugs, and not just marijauna. The more they use, the less motivated they are to get out and work hard, like the rest of us do every day. The use leads to addictions, which makes them virtually unemployable after some period of time. Then many people end up on public assistance chronically, instead of it being a temporary stop-gap measure as it was intended to be.

    Privacy is always, always conditional. I do not buy into violation of privacy when my tax dollars are supporting your drug use.

    As a physician, I am not even entitled to HIPPA protection as most people are. My medical history is public domain, as a condition to maintain my licensure, and is re-evaluated every year.

    The cost of a urine drug screen for eight common drugs is less than $20. That is a whole lot less then a weekly check for any given recipient on public assistance.

    Hell yes. Drug test everyone, and often.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  94. yeah right

    I don't want to give money to someone who clearly has enough money to spend it on drugs.. and it isn't a disease it is a CHOICE.. and the sooner people start taking responsibility for their actions the better. Saying it is a disease does two things. It causes people to believe that you cannot control it that you have no choice when you clearly do. Second it really trivializes real diseases that people get and CANNOT control. Yes drug test them. If they don't pass they don't get assistance period. If you are worried about the children involved take them away. They don't need to be with drug using parents anway.. Problem solved. I cannot believe this isn't already in place. Most times you cannot get a job if you do drugs why should you get assistance when you do drugs..Doesn't that defeat the purpose? So lets get this strait.. "Oh I didn't get that job cause I am a drug user...but wait! I'll just have the state and government take care of me instead! Great Idea" I think NOT.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  95. L. Fisher

    All I can say is, "It's about time !!!" People have to take drug tests to get and keep jobs, so why not require it of those who are requesting taxpayer supported programs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  96. Chic

    Not all companies require drug tests to begin working. Not all those who are in need of benefits are receiving them due to lack of funding. Now were wanting to spend money on passing bills to require additional spending for drug testing that would have no effect on getting a job unless the job your appling for requires a drug test. Why not speed this time and money on getting those in need of assistance the help they need, like employment assistance, drug rehabilitation or temporary food assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  97. Lethe

    Assuming by "drug testing" they mean any and all drugs including legal ones such as alcohol. Unemployment benefits is to get people back on their feet so they can go back to supporting themselves. If they are too weak minded to break drug addiction that's their problem.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  98. Leann

    Totally agree, if people want these government benefits they should be drug free. It would eliminate a lot of people and help in the long run. Obviously, all they would use their benefits for would be drugs anyway. Great Idea, I support 100%

    April 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  99. Rodney

    Awesome idea! I think everyone receiving taxpayers money should be tested. Congressmen, senators, governers, people getting welfare,unemployment. And when it comes to welfare, test every adult in the household husband and wife, or boyfriend girlfriend!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  100. Crystal

    I fully support this measure. In my opinion if you have the money to buy drugs rather than use the money for things you actually need such as food and utilities, then you have no right to benefits. There are people who actually need these type of benefits in order to get by. If you have the money to buy drugs, you have the money to pay your bills.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
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