Drug Testing Welfare Recipients in Maine

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Drug Testing Welfare Recipients
Joel Frenette
Husson University
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to exploit Maine’s current abuse by citizens participating in the various welfare programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Through the exploitation of current problems in the State of Maine’s welfare programs we can begin to offer solutions to reduce the abuse and improve Maine’s welfare system. This paper will also disregard any notion that drug testing welfare recipients to becoming a beneficial portion of welfare reform. If Maine decides to follow suit with Florida by drug testing every welfare recipient alone then it would in fact lose money throughout the entirety of the program because the low percentage of drug users amongst welfare recipients would be difficult to detect and reduce the deficits caused by welfare spending. Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

The question of drug testing welfare recipients has become one of the most prevalent issues when facing welfare fraud as a whole. In the State of Maine there are numerous forms of welfare assistance for needy families. Although there are thousands of families who are truly in need of assistance from time to time we have come to know that there are those who like to cheat the system and find loopholes in order to sustain their lethargic habits. The systems most commonly abused are those of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF, Supplemental Security Income or SSI for short, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; SNAP also known as EBT cards, and other unemployment benefits. With each program comes different problems associated accordingly both nationwide and on the statewide levels. The bigger question becomes whether or not the costs outweigh the benefits of drug testing individuals on welfare. Whether or not it is cost efficient can be discovered through the statistics of numerous states who have tried to pass legislation requiring drug testing. The main reason why it might not be cost effective is the comparison of the high number of participants that are on welfare assistance with the extremely low percentage of those actually using drugs. Although there are a low percentage of those who abuse drugs while on welfare, there are an equal amount of others who abuse welfare in other ways. In order to determine how to solve the problems associated with each program you must first identify the problem and how it gets through the program undetected. The largest problem that is neither investigated often nor prosecuted due to the lack of evidence that can be found besides a signed confession is that of drug dealer’s abuse of the section 8 housing availability to low-income or homeless families. What most drug dealers will do is to pedal their drugs around homeless shelters in order to both sell their drugs and get a recommendation for section 8 housing. In order to better portray how the abuse works we will name a drug dealer as “Mark”. Mark is both homeless and a former drug dealer living in a homeless whenever he can’t sleep on a friends couch. Mark turns back to selling drugs in order to sustain an income. While Mark is selling drugs he hangs around the homeless shelter to seem as though he isn’t doing anything wrong allowing him to sell drugs better while at the same time giving the idea from those who run the homeless shelter that Mark is in need of a home. Although Mark is truly in need of an apartment he could most likely afford one at this point and is bumped up on the waiting list for housing because he has zero taxable income because he doesn’t work a legitimate job. Once Mark then receives the housing he can apply for more welfare such as SNAP or SSI. In some cases there are drug dealers who fall prey and get high on their own supply. With these drug dealers we would be able to find out whether or not they are actually eligible...
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