Maine to put photo ID on EBT cards


ebt card

AUGUSTA – After heavy resistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last year, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is moving forward with an initiative to curb welfare fraud and abuse.

The USDA’s Associate Administrator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has told DHHS Commissioner Mary Hayhew that the state can add photo identification to Electronic Benefit Transaction (EBT) cards so long as certain federal guidelines are met, according to a letter obtained by The Maine Wire.

Although Jessica Shahin of the USDA related several concerns about the initiative, the letter indicates that adding photo ID to EBT cards is permissible under federal law and will not cause Maine to lose federal SNAP funding.

[RELATED: LePage blasts Obama cabinet secretaries over leaks…]

“The addition of photos to the EBT card, especially in a State that has never done so before, is a very sensitive issue for clients, advocates and retailers,” Shahin said in a Feb. 26 letter to Mayhew.

“Because of the complex legal, operational, and civil rights issues that have arisen around the implementation of photo EBT cards elsewhere, as well as the potential risk for litigation should something go wrong, [Food and Nutrition Service] FNS must work closely with DHHS to ensure that implementation is seamless and within the bounds of law and regulation,” said Shahin.

[RELATED: Maine welfare cash spent in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands…]

In order to police Maine’s implementation of photo ID on EBT cards, the federal government has requested information indicating that the “photo EBT card process will not adversely affect day-to-day SNAP operations.”

The written plan Shahin asks for must include the following:

  • Timetable of specific action steps for implementing the requirement
  • Description of where and how photo cards will be produced
  • Identification of where existing photos will come from
  • Description of the “universe of clients and/or authorized representatives” that will be required to submit photos, and “persons who will be exempt from the photo requirement.”
  • Explanation of how DHHS will ensure federal laws and regulations are followed
  • Description of any client, retailer or community training DHHS will perform
  • Explanation of methods to be used to activate new cards and disable old ones
  • Resources in place to handle calls from clients or retailers and “unexpected events” related to photo EBT card issuance.

The letter outlines a number of bureaucratic hoops DHHS must jump through before implementing the photo ID requirement and asks for a report within 45 days. “It is essential that any action that will have a direct impact on clients, retailers or local DHHS staff is deferred until FNS has had the opportunity to review and approve the plan,” said Shahin.

A number of other states have placed photo ID on EBT cards, most notably the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Last year, Massachusetts State lawmakers passed the requirement into law in order to crack down on fraud and abuse in the welfare system. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick agreed to the measure as part of a budget bill he signed in July and the state began issuing the new EBT cards in November.

Critics of the Bay State initiative decried the measure as “victimizing” poor people while doing nothing meaningful to combat fraud.

Steve Robinson
Editor, Maine Wire


About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently producer for the Howie Carr Show. Follow him on Twitter @Stevie_Rob or send him an email at

Recommended for you


  1. seo

    October 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

  2. buy jordans

    October 6, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    I’d have to check with you here. Which just isn’t some thing I in most cases do! I take pleasure in reading a post that will make individuals think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!
    [url=—Your-Ideal-Choice–Your-Distinctive-Fashion.html]buy jordans[/url]

  3. cheap sneakers

    October 6, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!
    [url=]cheap sneakers[/url]

  4. cheap air jordans

    October 6, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit analysis on this. And he the truth is bought me breakfast for the reason that I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to talk about this, I really feel strongly about it and adore reading extra on this subject. If possible, as you grow to be expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It’s highly helpful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog post!
    [url=]cheap air jordans[/url]

  5. jordan shoes

    October 6, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    Hello! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you’ve got here on this post. I is going to be coming back to your blog for even more soon.
    [url=]jordan shoes[/url]

  6. cheap jordans

    October 6, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    I discovered your blog internet site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the fairly wonderful operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading additional from you later on!
    [url=]cheap jordans[/url]

  7. jordans free shipping

    October 6, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    This is the appropriate weblog for everyone who wants to discover about this subject. You comprehend so considerably its almost difficult to argue with you (not that I really would want?-HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Awesome stuff, just good!
    [url=]jordans free shipping[/url]

  8. retro jordan 4

    October 7, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this internet site wants a lot more consideration. I’ll possibly be once again to read a lot more, thanks for that information.
    retro jordan 4

  9. air jordan retros

    October 7, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Nice post. I discover some thing alot more challenging on several blogs everyday. It is going to continually be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice just a little something from their store. I’d prefer to make use of some using the content on my weblog no matter if you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    air jordan retros

  10. cheap jordan shoes from china

    October 7, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    You created some decent points there. I looked on the web for the issue and discovered most people will go along with with your site.
    cheap jordan shoes from china

  11. cheap jordans

    October 7, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe which you should write additional on this topic, it might not be a taboo topic but typically consumers aren’t sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers
    cheap jordans

  12. cheap jordan shoes

    October 7, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    I am often to blogging and i truly appreciate your content. The write-up has certainly peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your internet site and keep checking for new data.
    cheap jordan shoes

  13. buy jordans

    October 7, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    you’ve got a fantastic blog here! would you like to create some invite posts on my blog?
    buy jordans

  14. cheap air jordans

    October 7, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think which you should certainly write more on this topic, it may well not be a taboo topic but typically consumers aren’t sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers
    cheap air jordans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *