States Get Tough On The Unemployed, Push For Drug Testing

Claire Gordon

If you're out of work, you might soon have to give a urine sample to the government to collect unemployment benefits.

Back in February, in order to pass the payroll tax cut extension, Democrats in Congress made a compromise: States could drug test the recipients of those benefits, in certain circumstances.

If you're laid off for failing a drug test, or are searching for a job in an industry that commonly requires a clean urine sample, the federal law says you could be required to pass a drug test before getting any temporary unemployment relief from the state. According to the Institute for a Drug-free Workplace, 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies perform pre-employment drug tests.