Maine panhandlers receiving public assistance must report all of their income or run the risk of being disqualified for benefits, according to welfare administrators.

In fact, earlier last week, a panhandler in Bangor was suspended from receiving welfare benefits for 120 days after officials discovered that the person had not been reporting their income as outlined in public service policies.

Shawn Yardley, the director of health and community services, said that he hopes the punishment this person received spreads throughout the panhandling community and ultimately, keeps others from hiding their income from the city.

“They can still panhandle, but they need to disclose their income,” said Yardley.

While there are reportedly no statistics as to how much money panhandlers across the state of Maine can make in a given month, Yardley says that the maximum welfare benefit a person can receive is about $550 per month – down 10 percent from last year. He adds that some welfare recipients attempt to hide any additional income they may be receiving in an attempt to maintain the state maximum.

However, many cities in Maine are currently working with police to crack down on welfare fraud – disqualifying recipients from the program for not adhering to the rules.

We prefer honest panhandlers, like the one in the above photo. After all, needing beer money is something all of us can sympathize with.