Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Michigan drug tested welfare recipients in yearlong pilot program, zero recipients tested positive

After a year of questioning and drug testing welfare recipients, Michigan's yearlong pilot program is coming to a close. From Detroit News:

Michigan did not catch a single welfare recipient using illegal drugs during a one-year pilot program designed to screen and test suspected substance abusers, provide them with treatment or kick them off government cash assistance if they refused.

In a Tuesday report to legislators, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it conducted suspicion-based screenings for 14 of 443 Family Independence Program applicants or recipients between October 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016 in Allegan, Clinton and Marquette counties.

Detroit News notes one person was flagged as suspicious, but went off the welfare rolls for "unrelated reasons."

Alas, that doesn't mean the program is ending for good. The legislature is still considering expansion and at least one state senator wants to double-down and dig deeper into the lives of recipients:

At the time of approval, sponsoring Sen. Joe Hune said the law would ensure that "only the neediest and law-abiding citizens" receive taxpayer-funded assistance, but he is blaming lackluster results from the pilot program on poor implementation by the state health department.

"This was supposed to be suspicion-based drug testing," said Hune, R-Hamburg. "Instead, the uncooperative bureaucrats at the health department simply had the welfare recipients fill out a questionnaire — are you on drugs, yes or no? — and that's how you get a result like that."

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