If you are a current recipient of food stamps or SNAP benefits in Georgia and have heard about the proposed Georgia food stamps drug test law, you have every reason to be concerned.
Even if you are planning to apply for food assistance in Georgia, the mention of drug testing means you have to make sure you are clean before you can apply.
In this post, we will explain in detail what the proposed drug testing law is about and the latest update on where things stand.
This post will cover:
- History of Georgia Food Stamps Drug Test Law
- Georgia food stamps drug test law legal?
- Food stamp drug tests would violate federal law
- Lessons from Drug Testing in Arizona
History of Georgia Food Stamps Drug Test Law
The law was intended to go into effect on July 1, 2014. The intention of the law is to stop anyone who fails a drug test from getting food stamps.
That is because those who sponsored the bill believe that some people on public assistance, such as food stamps are freeloaders who are just living off the government while spending their money on drugs.
The video below explains what the law is about and what ordinary citizens of the state think about the law.
The video mentions that state officials who manage the food stamps program can request a drug test from a recipient or applicant for food assistance if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is using drugs.
Those who support the law argue that if people who work are being drug tested as a requirement for a job, then why not do the same for people who are seeking public assistance from taxpayers money?
Georgia food stamps drug test law legal?
However, the big question that was immediately asked by many after the law passed the legislature is whether the Georgia food stamps drug test law is legal.
That is because the food stamps program is a federal government program so a state passing a law that contradicts the Department of Agriculture regulations becomes a problem.
The USDA requirements prohibit drug testing as part of the qualification process for SNAP benefits.
Due to this fact, The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter to state officials telling them it will not allow the state of Georgia to force participants in food stamp programs to pass drug screenings, as explained in the news story below.
Food stamp drug tests would violate federal law
Furthermore, according to this USA Today article, the federal government determined in January 2017 that drug testing food stamp recipients violate federal law and cannot be implemented without an act of Congress.
In addition, they also went on to say that the Trump Administration cannot authorize drug testing of food stamps recipients because “The law clearly does not allow it,”.
This means that if the Trump administration wants to do it, they would have to get Congress to pass a law and the President will have to sign that law for drug testing of SNAP benefit recipients to go into effect.
Therefore, until such a law is passed, no state will be able to drug test food stamps recipients, and if they did, it will definitely be challenged in court.
Lessons from Drug Testing in Arizona
As you can see from the image below, Arizona tried drug testing welfare recipients. They tested 87,000 people and only one person failed the test.
Is it really worth spending all this money just to catch a few people?
Clearly, the idea that welfare recipients are on drugs and therefore should be drug tested is just a myth. Most food stamps households have at least one adult that is working.
Therefore, the answer to the question “Do you have to pass a drug test in order to keep your food stamps or qualify for food stamps in Georgia” is NO. You don’t.
If anyone is telling you otherwise, they are not well informed. If you need further information on the topic, you can read the letter from the USDA here.
Georgia food stamps drug test Summary
If you have any comments about this issue or post, please post them in the comments section below.
We would like to hear from you about your experience with this issue. Did someone ask you to take a drug test to qualify for Georgia public benefits or assistance? Let us know in the comments section below.
To find out how you can save even more with your Georgia EBT card, be sure to check out our Georgia EBT Discounts. You can save on things like phone service, museum admission, and much more!