The federal government has determined that the state of Georgia’s plan to drug test applicants for food stamps is illegal. The feds have put Georgia on “formal notice”, according to the Huffington Post, warning the state not to enact the law that Republican Governor Nathan Deal (pictured) has already given his seal of approval.
Georgia’s Department of Human Services has been told explicitly that states are not permitted to create their own eligibility standards when it comes to welfare.
"Requiring SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) applicants and recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits would constitute an additional condition of eligibility, and therefore, is not allowable under law," said regional USDA administrator Robin Bailey.
The confusion here has come about most likely because, while welfare programs such as SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamps Program) are funded and regulated by the federal government, it is the responsibility of each state to administer them appropriately to its citizens.
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Since the states are responsible for administering food stamps, it has become a recent mission of some state-level politicians to establish specific standards in their respective states. These politicians (mostly Republicans), as well as some members of Congress, have made attempts to allow states to set their own standards for the administering of the federal SNAP program, but these were shot down.
Now that Georgia is attempting to go through with its “power to screen” for SNAP applicants, the state is in a bit of a standoff with the federal government.
The probability that the state of Georgia will receive permission to set its own standards for the eligibility of SNAP applicants is extremely low, being that this very subject was reviewed just last year.