PORTLAND (WGME) – A new federal law means your Maine identification may not be good enough. Starting next month the new law requires stricter and more uniform ID cards across the country.
Beginning in January of 2018, your Maine drivers license wont get you through TSA at the airport. And veterans will be affected in a little more than a month.
“It’s kind of disappointing to tell you the truth.” Daniel Patstone received a post card in the mail this week, notifying him his Maine ID would no longer allow him to receive his healthcare benefits in New Hampshire. He added “I would just hope that the other veterans would be able to get the benefits that they fought for, I mean we did put our lives on the line.”
He’s a veteran, and goes to the VA at the Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire every month.
Due to a new federal law, a Maine drivers license will no longer considered a ‘Real ID” starting in February —
He would need a passport to gain access. Patstone stated “That’s quite a ways to Togus and Manchester is right there.” He lives in Sanford, making a New Hampshire VA an hour closer than the one in Maine.
“That’s when I called Chellie Pingree’s office and asked them if they could help me.” added Patstone.
WGME spoke with Congresswoman Pingree, she said they’re in the process of finding a solution. Congresswoman Pingree stated “We’ve written a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force asking her to make this change and make it possible for people to continue accessing their care.”
She added she’s hopeful. “Oh I absolutely think it can be solved, the way we read the regulations, lack of access to a Real ID shouldn’t be a prohibition for getting to your health care.” Stated Congresswoman Pingree.
Patstone said without change, it could cost him financially. He said “It’s expensive since I don’t work, I am retired and I’m on a fixed income,” he added “It’s nerve wracking because I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
He said he thinks his federal VA card should allow him access in any state. “I hope that any other veteran or any veteran should be able to go and use the VA facilities anywhere.” stated Patstone.
The Maine Legislature voted not to comply with federal ID laws. Applying for a passport will cost more than $100.