When an individual loses a job either due to downsizing or layoffs, they are often comforted by the fact that they may be entitled to un-employment benefits. To assume that these same people are planning on using part of or all of the money received on drugs is an assumption without justification. First of all, if an employee was fired due to drug use, the employer will be notified if benefits have been requested, and the employer has the opportunity to state their case to the Unemployment Administration. Not everyone is entitled to benefits just because they lost a job. Certain criteria must be met in order to benefit from this program. Getting fired for drug use on the job is one of the criteria that justifies denial of benefits. Second, why should we believe that those who loose jobs will turn to drug use? It is an unfounded assumption that could certainly open a can of worms if we set the stage for testing those who collect what is rightfully theirs.
If the state did decide to test those receiving benefits, who will pay for the procedure? Should the unemployed pay for something they may not even engage in because someone else thinks it’s warranted? Is the State willing to pay out additional monies for this testing on top of paying out benefits? Who will the state choose to do the testing? Will they open an additional facility to have this done? How will they facilitate this endeavor when they are already overwhelmed by the number of applicants applying for assistance? Drug testing would be nothing more then an invasion of privacy pointed directly at unfortunate people that have already suffered enough by job loss.
If the state decides to drug test unemployment recipients, then it would only be fair to take further steps when it comes to deciding who they are passing out money to. If we check those who worked hard and lost their jobs do to no fault of their own, then the state should check others. Should we test those who receive Social Security Disability and Workman’s Compensation bebefits? What about those who receive pensions? Yes, it is their money, but should we monitor it for them? Should lottery winners also be tested so we can make sure they are spending their money the way we think they should? If the State were to have to take on this task of monitoring those without justifiable cause, they would run out of money that is given by the programs listed above. What would be the purpose of that?
I can understand the need to test those filing for welfare benefits as the monies they receive come directly from working tax payers. Not to mention the fact that many on welfare feel no need to employ themselves. Free money is not a motivator to work. Although background checks would be costly, the mandatory testing, if implemented, could keep those receiving state monies in check. If found to be using money for drugs, they could have their state money terminated.
Financial aid is not approved for individuals that have been arrested for a drug conviction. That is much easier to prove then it would be to test everyone before they gave the grant. A background check is easy to get if one is suspicious of another’s activities. There may be college students that use monies from federal funding to spend on drugs, but to deny someone money without proof that they are going to misuse it is ridiculous.
These are hard times right now. We cannot assume people turn to drugs because of job loss. Until we have statistical facts that show otherwise, I believe the idea is a waste of government money and time, and a total disregard to privacy. The only thing we can do is keep our eyes and ears open to those we know are wrongfully collecting benefits of any type, and report them anonymously for their own good and for the betterment of state monies.I have been unemployed and collecting benefits for over a year now. I have tried diligently to find work to no avail. I am not out on the street corner looking to score just because I lost my job. Sure, I may be depressed about my money situation, but I haven’t misused the money I received; if I did, I wouldn’t be eating.
However, if the state deems it necessary to test me for the Advil I’ve taken for stress headaches over the last year, I’ll definitely put up a fight. Not because I don’t want them to know that I take a pill, but because they’ve wasted a fortune just to find out I do.