Austin F. Blog | Trump Pushes For Drug Testing For Unemployment Benefits | Talkmarkets

Trump Pushes For Drug Testing For Unemployment Benefits

Date: Sunday, January 20, 2019 12:59 PM EST

What if you needed unemployment income to sustain you and had to qualify by taking a drug test? Believe it or not, this is a current issue that President Trump is pushing federal legislation for in order to make it a law. Drug testing for government benefits isn't unheard of. Not long ago, a few states required mandatory drug testing for TANF benefits. However, this proved to be costly and unfounded, based on the results. The constitutionality of suspicion less drug testing is also a plausible issue.

The Mechanics of this proposed Lawing 2017, over 1.83 million people collected unemployment benefits. Current unemployment laws already carry a stipulation that doesn't allow the collection of unemployment benefits for a person that was fired for drug-related reasons. However, the new law would require drug testing for anyone who wanted to collect unemployment benefits, regardless of whether their termination or job loss was drug-related. More information on the mechanics and requirements of drug testing expand on the laws and can be found at


How Do Privacy Laws and the Constitution Play a Role? Blanket drug testing without a cause has been deemed unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. This amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizure from the government. Trump's proposed law would override an individual's right to privacy, without any probable cause or suspicion. It should be noted that previously the government has required drug testing for benefits in the past, but only in cases where there was a "special need" or reasonable suspicion to invade a person's personal privacy. However, random drug testing for unemployment benefits doesn't meet any of the exceptions outlined by the Fourth Amendment and poses a real threat and violation to an individual's right to privacy. Websites like delve deeper into many of the nuances of drug testing.


The Cost of Suspicionless Drug Testing Drug testing isn't cheap. The cost in terms of manpower and other factors needed to test individuals can be substantial, especially if much of the testing turns out to be unfounded. This truth is validated by the fact that funding for unemployment insurance is extremely low. Random drug testing digs deeper into the government's already scarce pockets for results that have already been proven to be negligible at best. For example, thirteen states spent 1.6 million to drug test TANF recipients in 2016, of which only 369 tested positives out of 250,000. Aside from the argument of constitutionality, the cost of suspicionless drug testing is something that should be seriously considered as well. However, the stress and the stigma of this type of testing adds an additional strain to people legitimately seeking help or any other service that shouldn't require unsubstantiated drug testing.

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