Drug Testing For People Seeking Unemployment Benefits


“Anyone receiving benefits has to be work ready and available to work. The additional drug testing is based on a very limited number of people."

The way you apply for unemployment benefits may be changing depending on your line of work. Last year, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 21 which will require certain applicants looking to apply for unemployment benefits undergo a drug screening. Texas Workforce Commission is in charge of implementing the law, but is waiting on the federal government to decide what jobs will be subject to testing.

"Part of the process of implementation involves the proposed rule making through the department of labor. Their required to identify and give us guidance on which professions would be subject to this type of testing and that process hasn't happened yet."

In 2012, a law passed allowing states to drug tests certain people who apply for unemployment. Texas is still waiting for direction by the labor department to outline which occupations fall under the federal law for drug testing. Pablo Gonzalez is unemployed and says this will only make things harder for people.

"If a person is applying for unemployment it's because they need it and while they were working they were making a contribution to unemployment, so these are benefits that belong to them I think.

The current requirements to apply for unemployment is you have to be activity seeking for work and work ready. So what professions will be affected? Texas workforce commission director, Lisa Givens explains.

"We don't know for sure. For example truck drivers or the medical field could be affected, but it's still to early to tell.


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