A new Texas bill that is set to take effect by September 2009 will require applicants for food stamps to submit themselves to drug testing before being granted eligibility.
The bill, which is set to be entitled An Act Relating to the Eligibility and Drug Testing of Certain Persons Seeking Food Stamp Benefits, has four sections. Section 1 discusses the terms in which drug testing will be used as a prerequisite to food stamp eligibility.
Prospective applicants convicted of certain offenses as described in Section 1, Subsection (b) of the bill for a five-year period before applying for food stamp privileges must submit to drug testing. If the test gives a positive reading for controlled substances and prescription drugs that the applicant does not have a prescription for, the applicant is deemed ineligible for food stamp privileges.
The ineligibility will last for a period of one year, after which the applicant may then reapply. He or she will then be required to submit to additional monthly drug tests. Monthly drug tests will also be required of eligible applicants while they are enjoying the benefits of the food stamp program.
If a person is determined as ineligible, he or she is informed about the results of the testing and the proposed denial of the application for food stamp benefits. A second drug test or any other appropriate method deemed reasonable will then be administered to confirm the initial findings. The applicant will also be given the opportunity to be heard publicly regarding the drug test results before a final denial is imposed.
The Food Stamp Program in Texas is managed by the Texas Health and Human Resources Commission to ensure that even low-income families and individuals within the jurisdiction of the state are able to buy food for nourishment. Food stamp benefits usually last for a 6-month period, but can be given for as little as a month or as long as three years.
The benefits are enjoyed through the Lone Star Card, which is used like a credit card to pay for food purchases. The monthly food allowance awarded to the family or individual is stored in the card's account.