Only 2% Failed Florida Welfare Drug Tests

But that might still be enough for the program to break even
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2011 2:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – Florida’s controversial new program to drug test welfare recipients isn’t exactly catching droves of addicts. So far only 2% of those tests have come up positive, the Tampa Tribune reports, with 96% testing clean and 2% declining to complete the application process. That rate of failure may still be enough to save Florida a tiny bit of money, but it undermines Gov. Rick Scott's argument that welfare recipients are more likely to use illegal drugs.

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Applicants must pay for their own drug tests, but Florida will have to reimburse everyone who tested drug-free. At least 1,000 applicants have taken the test since the program started July 1; at least 1,500 are expected to take it each month. At this rate, that will amount to $28,800 to $43,200 in reimbursements a month. Each rejected applicant will save the state $134 per month, but since a single failed test disqualifies someone from a year’s worth of benefits, the state could come out ever-so-slightly ahead—if 20 to 30 people keep testing positive each month, and if the costs of administering the program don’t wipe out any savings. (Read more drug test stories.)

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