Drug tests could flush out welfare recipients abusing system - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Drug tests could flush out welfare recipients abusing system

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Bryant's proposal could call for the testing of applicants in needy families with children trying to get economic assistance from taxpayers. Bryant's proposal could call for the testing of applicants in needy families with children trying to get economic assistance from taxpayers.
"I have to get my benefits, and people that are on drugs shouldn't get benefits as far as I'm concerned," said Suzette Harwell, who is also on food stamps. "I have to get my benefits, and people that are on drugs shouldn't get benefits as far as I'm concerned," said Suzette Harwell, who is also on food stamps.

(WMC-TV) - Welfare recipients could be subject to a drug test, if Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has his way.

Bryant's proposal could call for the testing of applicants in needy families with children trying to get economic assistance from taxpayers.

"I'm coming [to the economic assistance building] to get some food stamps until I get on my disability," said Debbie Woods, who is on food stamps.

Woods cannot work. Her food stamps are one type of welfare offered in Mississippi. Another is called temporary assistance for needy families, or TANF.

Bryant recently said he would like to see drug testing for people who use tax dollars in the TANF program.

"If you've got money to buy drugs, then you can work," said Woods.

Many food stamps recipients, not TANF, said it would be fair if any assistance came with a drug test.

"I have to get my benefits, and people that are on drugs shouldn't get benefits as far as I'm concerned," said Suzette Harwell, who is also on food stamps.

Mississippi lawmakers would have to get behind Bryant's idea, and the cost of testing could add up fast.

"I was a probation officer for eight years, so we had drug tests every day ... I know they're expensive," said Woods.

There is a work requirement for people on the TANF program, and some felt it should be up to employers to test workers. Others think testing applicants could flush out people abusing the system.

"It's really hard for us to get on things like TANF and things, and sometimes I feel like those people get kind of a hand out," said Alisha McChriston, who is also on food stamps.

Below is the statement released by Bryant:

"A Mississippian who is working to get ahead but is struggling with substance abuse will have a very difficult time, and children in a home with a parent or guardian who abuses drugs are particularly vulnerable. This proposal will help identify adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle and will get them the help they need so they can provide for their families."

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