Press Releases

Carter Introduces Drug Testing for Unemployment Insurance Legislation

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Washington, July 20, 2017 | comments
Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (GA-01) introduced legislation today to allow states to conduct drug abuse risk assessments and drug testing of Unemployment Insurance applicants. 

"The Unemployment Insurance program is an important safety net program for Americans across the country," Carter said. "I introduced this legislation because it gives states the ability to ensure the resources of this program are going to those who truly need it while saving taxpayer dollars in the process. Unemployment Insurance recipients should be drug-free and ready to reenter the workforce and my legislation works to make that happen."

Background:

The Ensuring Quality in the Unemployment Insurance Program (EQUIP) Act introduced by Carter today codifies that states have the ability to require all individuals to take a substance abuse risk assessment before receiving unemployment benefits if the state chooses. 

The assessment will use a screening instrument approved by the National Institutes of Health that is designed to determine if an individual is at high risk for substance abuse. Those determined to be at high risk for drug abuse will submit to a drug screening before receiving unemployment benefits.

If testing is positive, then the burden shifts to the applicant to make sure they meet certain requirements before receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The first positive test would result in no regular unemployment insurance benefit for a 30 day period. A second positive test would result in no unemployment insurance benefit for the remainder of the benefit year.
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