The U.S. department of Agriculture is threatening to withhold funding it provides to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services used to administer their food stamp program.
The state's policy requiring that benefits are accessed only by people whose photographs appear on their Electronic Benefits Transfer cards is considered a civil rights violation by the federal government.
After receiving the the five-page letter from the USDA Thursday, the state has 45 days to submit a plan to make it clear that photos are not required on the EBT cards to receive benefits.
In fiscal year 2013, the federal government paid about $8.9 million to partially cover Maine's administrative costs.
A Maine DHHS spokesman says that 21,000 people have had their photos put on the cards, while 100 declined.
Maine officials say that the federal government's claims are misleading and that it's trying to "prevent accountability and reform in the nation's welfare system."