The max monthly amount for TANF is $241.00, so I used that figure. There have been no studies done to indicate that welfare recipients test positive for drugs at a higher rate than the national average, which is estimated to be 6% (actually, recent studies showed that for the first month of drug testing which took place in July 2011 in Florida, only 2% tested positive). The max cost for a drug test available is estimated at $83
So, for every 1000 people enrolled on TANF, at the max, it would cost $241,000.00 ($241×1000 people) a month. So, having these people pay for their own drug test, it would cost them $83,000 in drug testing. ($83×1000 people) It is then said that those who pass will be reimbursed for their drug test. (Assuming national average of 6% holds true here as well since nothing indicates it wouldn’t, that would mean 60 out of every 1000 people would fail the drug test and surrender their claim to their $83 reimbursement, meaning that 940 would pass and need to be reimbursed) So we’re up to$78,020 needing to be reimbursed ($83×940 people) Now, 940 people are getting $241 a month, rather than 1000. (For a total of $226,540.00, sans reimbursement)
We still good?
Okay, now say your drug test was good for 6 months, and you would need to be tested again (and reimbursed). For the months that need tests (Say, January and July) it would cost you $304,560.00 ($226,540.00 in actual monthly funds, and $78,020.00 in reimbursements) So, for that year, your total budget would be $2,874,520.00 and heres how that math breaks down:
Jan: $304,560.00 (aid for 940 + reimbursements)
Feb: $226,540.00 (aid for 940)
July: $304,560.00 (aid for 940 + reimbursements)
Compare this with the figures for a year without any drug testing: $2,892,000.00
Your total NET savings would be $17,480.00 per 1000 people, or $17.48 a person.
But here’s something no one is considering: There are a lot of previous rulings that have taken place determining that a urinalysis screening does constitute a “search” under the fourth amendment. Furthermore, the data base in which results of the drug tests are stored can be accessed by law enforcement and other agencies like DCFS. This may seem like a good idea to those who are like “They are on drugs, they should face the implications!” but it just aids in the mandate’s vulnerability to being sued, which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per individual who decides to sue. In fact, until studies are done to demonstrate sufficient cause for the mandatory drug testing (in other words, show that drug abuse rates are higher among welfare recipients versus the rest of the population) the government is really just leaving itself opened to be sued over, and over, again.
Hope that helps explain things in a rational way, with not a lot of opinion put in since I know its a sensitive subject.