The State of Maine has announced it will begin putting photos on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards this month, with the Bangor DHHS office being the first to make the change.

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People who already receive benefits may voluntarily go to the office beginning April 28 and have their photos taken. All new card holders in Bangor will have their photo taken when their benefits are approved and will be issued a photo ID card immediately.

People 60 and over or have disabilities will not be required to have a photo on the card.

The new cards, which feature a white background and a blue banner, will replace the former Pine Tree Card, which featured scenic photographs of Maine. The card will also include language that clearly indicates that misuse of the benefit card is considered a crime.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as Food Stamps, allows card holders to give a family member permission to purchase food on his or her behalf. As is the case with the current card, the Personal Identification Number, or PIN, is required in order for the purchase to be approved. Retailers are bound by their agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture, which funds the program.

"Placing photos on the Maine EBT card supports this Administration's efforts to strengthen the integrity of our public assistance programs," said Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

Maine joins New York and Massachusetts as states that have photos on EBT cards.  Beginning in July, all DHHS regional offices in Maine will begin taking photos. At that time, cards will be produced in a central location and will be mailed to the recipient.