Mainers who use food stamp benefits cards will not have to show photo IDs when they buy groceries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said “no" a request by Gov. Paul LePage's administration to require photo ID.  The Department of Agriculture said that would infringe on card holders' rights and would not fight fraud.  

In the last legislative session, Gov. LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services supported legislation that would have required photo ID. That bill failed. So, Maine made the waiver request. Now, that has been turned down.

Federal officials have estimated the level of welfare fraud nationwide at 1% of the $75 billion program, $750 million a year. Officials believe the percentage to be about the same for Maine.  Maine has been increasing its anti-fraud efforts. As of January, 253,842 Mainers received an average monthly benefit of about $122 through the nutrition program.