The Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday indicated it will give states more flexibility on administering food stamps, the same day Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he’s moving ahead with a plan to drug test some food stamp recipients in his state.
The USDA released a letter Tuesday stating it would focus on improving self-suffiency, integrity and customer service in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
In order to do so, the department said it must provide states “the flexibility to test new and better ways to administer our programs.”
Also on Tuesday, Walker announced he had submitted a plan to the Wisconsin legislature that would have able-bodied adults receiving public benefits, such as food stamps, to be drug tested. Those who fail the test would need to comply with treatment requirements or lose their benefits, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The program will take at least a year to go into effect. State lawmakers have 120 days to object to the proposal.
Walker’s administration estimated about 220 food stamp recipients statewide would test positive in the first year of the program, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Supporters argued that the proposal will help those with substance abuse issues get the necessary treatment.
Critics said similar testing programs in other states were expensive and turned up few positive test results.