Those receiving welfare benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program could have to meet a new requirement if the Illinois legislature votes to pass a measure that was recently introduced by State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon). House Bill 4255 would require the Illinois Department of Human Health Services to establish a drug testing system that all applications for TANF benefits must submit before they can be deemed eligible for the benefits.

Kay says he’s not trying to get rid of welfare and wants to end abuse within the system. 

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Any applicant that tests positive for substance abuse or refuses to take the drug test would be ineligible to receive welfare benefits. The cost of the drug test would be deducted from the recipient’s first benefits payment if they are eligible for the program. Kay says he also plans to amend his bill to include treatment for substance abusers as an effort to help them curb their addiction to illicit drugs.

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