Effective October 1, 2015 until September 30, 2017

Terms Used In Alabama Code 38-1-7

  • commissioner: The Commissioner of the State Department of Human Resources. See Alabama Code 38-1-1
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • following: means next after. See Alabama Code 1-1-1
  • person: includes a corporation as well as a natural person. See Alabama Code 1-1-1
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Alabama Code 1-1-1
  • United States: includes the territories thereof and the District of Columbia. See Alabama Code 1-1-1
  • year: means a calendar year; but, whenever the word "year" is used in reference to any appropriations for the payment of money out of the treasury, it shall mean fiscal year. See Alabama Code 1-1-1

(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

(1) DRUG. Includes all of the following:

a. A controlled substance for which a medical prescription or other legal authorization is required for purchase or possession, including, but not limited to: An amphetamine, a tetrahydrocannabinol, oxycodone, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), an opiate, a barbiturate, a benzodiazepine, a methamphetamine, a propoxyphene, a tricyclic antidepressant, or a metabolite of any of these substances.

b. A drug whose manufacture, sale, use, or possession is forbidden by law.

(2) DRUG SCREENING. Any chemical, biological, or physical instrumental analysis administered by a laboratory certified by the United States Department of Health and Human Services or other licensing agency in this state for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of a drug or its metabolites.

(b) The Department of Human Resources shall implement and administer a drug screening program for any adult applying for temporary cash assistance who is otherwise eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and for certain recipients upon reasonable suspicion that the adult uses or is under the influence of a drug. Reasonable suspicion exists if an applicant has a conviction for the use or distribution of a drug within five years prior to the date of the application for TANF temporary cash assistance or if a recipient tested positive for a drug without a valid prescription as a result of a drug screening required under this subsection.

(c) The department shall require each applicant to disclose, under penalty of perjury, any criminal conviction related to the use or distribution of a drug on any application for TANF temporary cash assistance.

(d) The cost of the initial drug screening of each applicant shall be the responsibility of the department. The cost of any subsequent drug screening is the responsibility of the person screened. The department shall reimburse the person for the cost of the drug screening if the person tests negative for a drug.

(e)(1) A person who refuses to take a drug screening or who delays the drug screening beyond the time set by the department is ineligible to receive TANF temporary cash assistance.

(2) A person who tests positive for a drug as a result of a drug screening required under this section and who is unable to produce a valid prescription for the drug shall receive a warning that any subsequent positive drug screening will result in a loss of benefits. Upon a second positive drug screening, the person shall be ineligible for TANF temporary cash assistance for one year after the date of the positive drug screening results. Upon a third positive drug screening, the person shall be permanently ineligible for TANF temporary cash assistance. No person shall be subjected to more than two additional drug screenings in any calendar year.

(3) A person who is denied TANF temporary cash assistance under this section when he or she was an applicant may request an administrative hearing to review the denial.

(f) The results of a drug screening under this section shall not be admissible in any criminal proceeding, but are admissible without further authentication or qualification in administrative hearings of the department and judicial review of department determinations.

(g) The department shall do all of the following:

(1) Provide notice of the potential for drug screening to applicants for TANF temporary cash assistance at the time of application. The notice shall advise the person that drug screening may be conducted as a condition for receiving benefits under certain conditions and that the person shall bear the cost of the drug screening after the initial screening. The person shall be advised that the required drug screening may be avoided if the person does not apply for TANF temporary cash assistance.

(2) Require each person to be screened to sign a written acknowledgment that he or she has received notice of the department’s drug-screening policy and that he or she understands the drug-screening requirement.

(h) If a parent is deemed permanently ineligible for TANF temporary cash assistance as a result of failing a third drug screening conducted under this section the dependent child or other adult family member’s eligibility for public assistance benefits is not affected.

(1) An appropriate protective payee shall be designated to receive benefits on behalf of the child and family members.

(2) The parent may choose to designate another person to receive benefits for the minor child and family members. The designated person must be an immediate family member or, if an immediate family member is not available or the family member declines the option, another person, may be designated. The designated person must be approved by the department.

(i) The commissioner shall promulgate rules to prescribe the design, operation, and standards for the implementation of this section.

(Act 2014-438, p. 1622, §§1, 2.)