Kansas set to begin drug-testing welfare recipients next year

Kansas is set to begin a drug testing program next year for welfare recipients, similar to a program already enacted in Missouri and 9 other states.


The Missouri program saw over 600 drug tests over a period of 8 months, and only found 20 people who tested positive for illicit drugs -- at a cost nearly $500,000.

The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas will test welfare recipients suspected of drug use, sometimes flagged by a test or questionnaire.

Kansas isn't expected to start testing welfare recipients until July 1. The state estimates it will cost nearly $1 million to implement, including about $600,000 for one-time computer system upgrades.

Kansas Sen. Jeff King of Independence wrote the plan. The Kansas law cuts off benefits for welfare recipients who are reasonably suspected of drug use and test positive.

The benefits can be restored when a recipient completes a drug treatment and job skills program paid for with federal welfare funds.

A second failed test results in a yearlong loss of benefits, while a third positive test results in losing the benefits permanently.

Like Missouri, a third party like an aunt or a grandfather -- can apply for benefits on behalf of children whose parents fail a drug test.


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