Resources for Applicants

Frequently-Asked Questions

  1. I applied for a DOT-covered job and tested positive. The company won’t hire me and they told me I have to find a SAP? How do I do this?
  2. Do I have to go through a SAP?
  3. What if I arrange for an assessment by someone who is not a SAP?
  4. What if I just go to a treatment center and put myself into treatment?
  5. What if I just apply to another company?
  6. What if I just “forget” to tell an employer about this positive pre-employment test?
  7. Who is going to pay for the cost of my SAP services?
  8. If I have to pay for this, what will this cost?
  9. How will I pay for this?
  10. Will my treatment be covered by my health insurance?
  11. What if I can’t afford the plan that the SAP recommends?
  12. If I don’t agree with the SAP's recommendation, can I get a second opinion from another SAP?
  13. How long will this process take?
  14. What happens next?
  15. How can I find out what this follow-up testing program will be?
  16. Who pays for these follow-up tests?
  17. What happens if I test positive on a follow-up test?
  18. Suppose I don't get a job for a while. Who will do my follow-up testing?

#1 I applied for a DOT-covered job and tested positive. The company won’t hire me and they told me I have to find a SAP? How do I do this?
The regulation requires the employer to give you the names of qualified SAPs. (40.287) If the company did not do that, you will probably be able to find a SAP in this database. Click on Find a SAP in the left column of this page .

Back to Top ^

#2 Do I have to go through a SAP?
Yes, DOT requires that an applicant with a DOT violation must be evaluated by a qualified and trained SAP. When you apply for another DOT-covered job, your new employer will have to obtain the SAP reports related to your assessment and successful compliance with the SAP's recommendations.

Back to Top ^

#3 What if I arrange for an assessment by someone who is not a SAP?
An employer cannot accept recommendations from anyone who is not a qualified SAP.

Back to Top ^

#4 What if I just go to a treatment center and put myself into treatment?
This is also not permissible under the regulations. DOT still requires that you go to a SAP for an evaluation, even though you may have already completed a treatment program. If the SAP determines that you require a treatment plan other than what you may have had in a treatment center, you will have to comply with the SAP's recommendation before you can be considered for return to safety-sensitive functions in the transportation industry. In order for your record to be complete, your employer’s file must include an assessment by a qualified and trained SAP, and two SAP reports (an Initial Evaluation and a Follow-Up Evaluation indicating that you complied with the SAP's recommendation.)

Back to Top ^

#5 What if I just apply to another company?
The regulations don’t allow you to provide safety-sensitive functions for another DOT employer until and unless you have successfully completed this return-to-duty process. A future DOT-covered employer is required to obtain your drug and alcohol testing records from your previous employers for the previous two years. (For FMCSA employers, this covers the previous three years. For FAA pilots, this covers the previous five years).

Every employer is also required to ask applicants whether they have any positive pre-employment test results, or refusals to be tested. For each violation, you must complete a SAP return-to-duty process before you can work for any DOT-covered employer. A previous employer is required to report any violation, and if there is no SAP report regarding compliance, no employer is permitted to hire you.

However, there is nothing preventing you from working for a non-DOT employer, in which case you don’t have to go through this SAP process. But if you change your mind in the next two years, and decide to go back to a safety-sensitive function in the transportation industry, you will first have to complete a SAP return-to-duty process.

Back to Top ^

#6 What if I just “forget” to tell an employer about this positive pre-employment test?
There is a good chance this will be discovered sometime in the future. Falsification of information is a serious offense, and because this is a federal law, you would be subject to fines and civil penalties. DOT will hold you responsible under civil penalties if you provide safety-sensitive functions when you know that you have a violation.

Back to Top ^

#7 Who is going to pay for the cost of my SAP services?
If you are not currently working, you will have to pay for your SAP services.

Back to Top ^

#8 If I have to pay for this, what will this cost?
SAP services are not cheap. A SAP assessment, monitoring, and follow-up evaluation requires quite a bit of professional time and expertise on the part of the SAP. In addition, a SAP has considerable liability, since DOT considers the SAP to be ultimately responsible to the traveling public. Don’t expect that the cost of this assessment will be covered by insurance; it usually isn’t. Health insurance covers "medical necessity". A positive drug test involves no medical necessity.

Back to Top ^

#9 How will I pay for this?
This is a conversation you should have with a SAP before you even start the process. Most SAPs require full payment for these services in advance. If you are not able to get the money together before the first visit, a SAP can decide to not start the evaluation. Some SAPs will require payment in cash or money order or certified check.

Back to Top ^

#10 Will my treatment be covered by my health insurance?
First of all, do you have health insurance? If you don’t, you will obviously have to cover the treatment costs on your own. Secondly, even if you do have health insurance, there is no guarantee that your treatment costs will be covered. Don’t make any assumptions about this.

Back to Top ^

# 11 What if I can’t afford the plan that the SAP recommends?
You have no alternative. You must either comply with the recommendation (and find some way to pay for it), or find a different job outside of the transportation industry. DOT considers the SAP's recommendation to be final, and no one can change it.

Back to Top ^

#12 If I don’t agree with the SAP's recommendation, can I get a second opinion from another SAP?
You may think that the SAP's recommendation is too tough. Or you may find that the recommendation is not covered by your insurance plan. The rule is very clear about this: You cannot get a second opinion. Once you have started an evaluation process with a SAP, you cannot seek the services of a different SAP. If you were to do that, you would be subject to fines by DOT. The evaluation of the original SAP stands.

Back to Top ^

#13 How long will this process take?
That actually depends on the type of recommendation that your SAP makes. (If the SAP recommends an inpatient treatment program, you must complete that program before anything else can happen.) But it also depends on the progress that you make in complying with the SAP's recommendation. Your SAP will be monitoring your progress. He/she will be checking regularly with your treatment provider. When your SAP feels you have made sufficient progress, your SAP will call you to schedule a clinical follow-up evaluation. In the final analysis, it’s really up to you. If your SAP feels that you are making little (or no) progress, or that your participation in your program is minimal, the SAP will probably not set up a follow-up evaluation for you.

Back to Top ^

#14 What happens next?
When your SAP conducts a clinical follow-up evaluation and determines that you have complied with the recommendations, your SAP will prepare a report of compliance. The SAP will probably keep this report, pending your application to another employer. When your new employer requests this information, the SAP will forward these reports to your new employer. (But only after you have signed a written authorization for the SAP to do so.)

The pre-employment test that you take for a new employer is actually the same as the return-to-duty test following this SAP return-to-duty process. In order for you to be hired, you must have a negative pre-employment test result.

And then, if you are hired, you are subject to follow-up testing as required by your SAP. There must be at least 6 unannounced follow-up tests in the first year, but the SAP can require any number of tests, and the testing period can extend to five years.

Back to Top ^

#15 How can I find out what this follow-up testing program will be?
DOT requires that the follow-up testing schedule (when, how often, and how many years) must be confidential. Neither the SAP nor your employer is permitted to share this testing plan with you. All the tests will be unannounced. If a SAP requires you to be tested 20 times in a year, your employer is responsible for seeing to it that all those tests are conducted. Your employer is subject to fines for any tests that are not conducted.

Back to Top ^

#16 Who pays for these follow-up tests?
This is an employer’s decision. Some employers pay for follow-up testing. Some employers share the cost of the tests with the employee who is being tested. But many employers require the employee to pay for all of those tests, as a consequence of having violated DOT’s rules. It should be specified in your new employer’s policy. If it isn’t, you may want to ask your new employer about it.

Back to Top ^

#17 What happens if I test positive on a follow-up test?
If you test positive again, you must go through the entire process again. That includes removal from safety-sensitive functions and a complete SAP evaluation and return-to-duty process. And the SAP will be again required to recommend treatment and/or education.

Back to Top ^

#18 Suppose I don't get a job for a while. Who will do my follow-up testing?

Your follow-up testing program doesn't start until you do find a job. Even if that is a year from now. At that point, whenever it is, your SAP will send the SAP reports to your new employer. Your new employer will then conduct a pre-employment test (which will also be your return-to-duty test), and your employer will then be responsible for starting and maintaining your follow-up testing program.

Back to Top ^

© 2014 SAPList.com