Arizona and Missouri have a good idea, but it only goes half way. Michigan would be smart to do the same thing only complete the job.
Since November of 2009 Arizona has required that welfare recipients not use drugs. If they do, they will lose their benefits. The state uses a survey of the applicants, as well as police and court records, to determine if someone should be tested. Since the start, only 16 have been identified. Eventually, one of the 16 was tested for drug use and denied benefits.
Missouri would like to do the same thing and legislation to allow it to do so was passed last week.
Michigan should go even farther. The Arizona and Missouri laws, for the most part, use “surveys” to determine if someone may be using drugs while accepting benefits. Michigan should make it mandatory as part of the application process and do random checks during the remaining time they are accepting benefits. The random tests should be at a scale that everyone will be checked at least once a month.
If someone is found to be using any illegal drugs, not only should they stop receiving benefits but they should then be ordered to attend a drug rehab program.
A community needs to take responsibility for those that may be unemployed for an extended period of time. But that doesn’t mean that the recipient should not take responsibility also. As in a post on this blog, Require a return on investment from unemployment, this should be a part of the overall requirements that both helps people become self sufficient and asks for a return from the benefits they are receiving.
Government Synder, please consider what they are doing in Arizona and Missouri.