Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Drug testing for TANF recipients- Update

The senate amended version of HB2388, drug testing for TANF recipients, states that beginning November 1, 2012, all adult applicants for TANF will be screened to determine if they are engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance or substances.   If the Department has made a determination that the applicant is engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance or substances, the applicant's request for TANF cash benefits shall be denied.
If at any time during the controlled substance screening process, the applicant refuses to participate, that refusal shall lead to a denial of TANF benefits.
If there has not already been a chemical drug test administered as part of the controlled substance screening process, the applicant may submit proof of a negative chemical drug test from a state certified laboratory to challenge the Department's finding. Proof of the chemical drug test must be submitted to the Department no later than the tenth calendar day following denial.
If denied an applicant shall not be approved until one year has passed since the date of denial. However, if an applicant has successfully complied with a recommended substance abuse treatment program after the date of denial, the applicant may be approved for cash benefits after six months have passed since the date of denial, rather than the required one year.
If an applicant has been denied TANF cash benefits two times due to the provisions of this subparagraph, the applicant shall be ineligible for TANF benefits for a period of three years from the date of the second denial.
Child-only cases and minor parents under eighteen years of age are not subject to the drug screening.
In cases where the application for TANF benefits is not for child-only benefits, but there is not a parent who has been deemed eligible for cash benefits under the provisions of this paragraph, any cash benefits for which the dependent children of the family are still eligible shall not be affected and may be received and administered by an appropriate third party approved by the Department for the benefit of the members of the household.
The amended version has passed the Senate 46 to 2 and sent back to the House for approval.


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