AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- The federal government is "strongly urging" Maine to delay putting photo identification on welfare benefit cards throughout the state.

In a letter on Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that it hasn't received a response regarding a variety of questions and concerns about the plan.

Maine's Department of Health and Human Services said it will begin handing out the new cards throughout Maine on Tuesday. It says the photos will prevent fraud and misuse in the program.

The state has been issuing the new cards in a pilot program in Bangor since April. Federal officials had previously urged the state to wait, but the department decided to move forward with that plan anyway.

It didn't immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.

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