Alabama Restricts Welfare, Requires Drug Testing for Applicants

The state passes four bills that can put serious limitations on applicants

Four bills restricting participation in welfare have passed the Alabama legislature. The four bills, which are awaiting the signature of Gov. Robert J. Bentley, would enforce new restrictions on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

The restrictions included in the federal welfare program would include mandatory drug tests for TANF applicants who have drug convictions.

The four bills:

Senate Bill 63. This bill would require TANF applicants who have had a drug conviction over the last five years to undergo drug-testing before they receive benefits. Those who test positive for the first time would receive a warning. Those who test positive upon repeat testing would be subjected to a suspension of benefits for one year. Applicants would be banned for life if they test positive a third time.

Senate Bill 114. Falsifying information in order to qualify for state or federally funded public assistance program would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

Senate Bill 115. TANF applicants would be required to apply for three positions of unsubsidized employment before they are eligible for assistance.

Senate Bill 116. Locations where electronic welfare cards cannot be used at ATMs would be expanded. In addition, the bill would prevent TANF recipients from using their benefits for lottery tickets, piercings, psychic services, strip clubs, or tattoos.

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