TANF was in Fiscal Year 2012 a $106.6 million program in Mississippi. In March 2013, there were 20,789 TANF recipients in 9,918 Mississippi families. Some 5,554 of those recipients were adults who would be subject to possible drug testing. Another 15,235 recipients in Mississippi are children who would not be subject to drug testing under the proposed new law.
The number of Mississippi families receiving TANF benefits has declined from 11,805 in 2010 to the current 9,918 in 2013, which tracks the improvement in the state’s economy.
Few states actually took the policy plunge on drug testing for welfare benefits after Congress made it possible to do so during sweeping changes in federal welfare program legislation in the mid-1990s. But the practice has gained popularity in the last five years, dovetailing with the nation’s prolonged recession and the dramatic increases in those seeking public assistance after unemployment numbers rose.
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