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Shawnda O'Brien
Shawnda O'Brien


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News & Updates

Benefit Verifications
To verify Alaska program participation, the preferred contact method is to send requests via email to

Fax: (907) 269-3099
Phone: (907) 269-7880


  • New item iconFree School Meals – Apply by September 30th
    Pandemic – Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Program documentation will be accepted by the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) after Aug. 31, 2020, to allow for families to submit their information. We understand mail delivery in our communities can cause delays in applying and DPA wants as many families as possible, who are eligible for P-EBT, to have the opportunity to participate. Please submit your information as quickly as possible to DPA to ensure benefits are issued by the end of September. DPA will not be able to issue P-EBT benefits after Sept. 30, 2020, due to federal regulatory limitations.
  • April 10, 2020 - The division recently received approval from the federal Food and Nutrition Service to issue emergency allotments for the April and May 2020 benefit months. Each household will receive the maximum allowable benefit for their household size regardless of the income being counted. The additional benefits will be issued as supplements beginning the week of April 13, 2020.
  • April 3, 2020 - Social distancing options when paying for groceries with SNAP benefits during COVID-19
    Until recently federal regulation barred SNAP EBT from being used as a method of online payment for SNAP eligible items.  Currently the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is running a pilot with a small number of states and vendors testing acceptance of online EBT payments, however participation in the pilot is very limited at this time.

    Although Alaska vendors are not currently able to accept SNAP EBT as a method of online payment, there are several options that would allow for a retailer to continue to get food to its SNAP clients in light of the social distancing recommendations related to COVID-19. These include:
    • SNAP client placing their order online or over the phone and picking it up at the store. If the store has a wireless POS the customer would be able to complete the transaction without having to leave their car.
    • SNAP client placing their order online or over the phone and having the order delivered to their designated delivery address. The transaction can be completed using a wireless POS.
    • SNAP client placing their order online or over the phone and designating a person to pick the order at the store using the clients EBT card. The transaction can be completed, using the SNAP clients EBT card, in the store or by using a mobile POS device outside of the store.
    Vendors are encouraged to reach out to their retailer association or FNS with any COVID-19 processing questions.  Additional information can be found on the FNS website at: FNS COVID-19 response website and SNAP Retailer Service Center.

  • March 18, 2020 - Public Assistance recipients should be aware of several changes resulting from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including:
    • Medicaid benefits have been enhanced and extended
    • No-work requirements for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) have been suspended
    • Automatic six month extension for all Public Assistance programs
    For more information, please see DPA Director Shawnda O’Brien’s letter to DPA recipients.

  • Benefit Verifications
    To verify Alaska program participation, the preferred contact method is to send requests via email to If necessary, a fax can be sent to (907) 269-3099. Please include agency contact information in case we have a question about your request. Each request must include the client’s full name, date of birth, SSN or last 4 of the SSN, current mailing address, a list of all household members that are applying for assistance, and a brief description of what verification is needed. If the names of all household members are not included, the response may not be completely accurate. A signed release from the program participant is normally required for the Division of Public Assistance to release this information. Questions about a verification request can be directed to (907) 269-7880.

  • December 11, 2019: At the direction of Governor Mike Dunleavy, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Assistance (DPA) is developing a plan for individuals who receive cash payments from the Adult Public Assistance (APA) program and we are working closely with the Social Security Administration in order to implement this change on an expedited basis. If any cases are not able to be worked prior to January 1, a supplemental benefit will be issued to individuals in January.

    Some recipients of the APA program may have recently received a letter in the mail about upcoming changes to the program including a reduction in benefits. Because of recent efforts to restore funding those individual case letters can be ignored and new letters will be sent out to individuals.

    If you have questions after you receive this case specific notice, contact your local public assistance office.

  • January 23, 2019 -Notification Letter of Information Compromised
    This notice was sent to residents at addresses that have been or still are a participant of the Department of Health & Social Services, Division of Public Assistance programs. It notified individuals on April 26, 2018, it was discovered that information contained in the DPA’s eligibility database may have been breached. The notice provided things individuals can do to minimize their risk.

  • June 28, 2018 -HIPAA and APIPA Breach Notification?
    ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) had a security breach which may have disclosed personal information of individuals who have interacted with Division of Public Assistance (DPA) in the Northern region. Due to the potential for stolen personal information, DHSS urges Alaskans who have been involved with the DPA Northern region offices to take actions to protect themselves from identity theft. (more)

Office Changes

New icon April 14, 2020 - Office Closures
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Public Assistance offices are not open for in-person service. Lobbies are still open to pick up and drop off applications and information. Staff are available by phone, fax, and email and will respond to requests as quickly as possible. See our contacts page for information.


  • New icon USDA warns about scammers targeting SNAP participants
    Scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic are attempting to steal personal information from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Please be careful with any unknown individual or organization that requests your confidential information, including your social security number, bank information, or your SNAP EBT card and PIN number. More information is available on the USDA's Scam Alerts page.

    Contact your local SNAP office if you’re unsure if a request is legitimate or you have any questions. If you believe you’re the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department.

  • 2019 Alert: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently confirmed that the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country. Learn more...

  • 2019 Alert: A phone number that was once used for the Denali KidCare program is now being used to ask people for their credit card number in order to win a prize. The phone number related to this activity is 888-318-8890. This is not a State of Alaska government phone number. People should not call this number or give out Medicaid or credit card information.

Emergency Helplines

Pregnant Women
If you have submitted an application for Pregnant Woman Medicaid and have not received a notice informing you of the status of your application, please call 1.844.864.2229 (BABY).  Please be prepared to provide your case number, your full name, social security number, and a valid phone number.
Medical Emergencies
Please call 1.844.231.7880, if you submitted an application for Medicaid and someone is experiencing an emergent need for medical assistance such as
  • Medical procedures to address a life threatening illness or injury
  • Travel for high risk medical procedures
  • Prescriptions that need to be filled
Community Resources
For information about community resources that may help you until your application is processed, please call 2-1-1.

Medicaid Recipient Helpline
If you are a recipient or a recipient advocate and have questions about Medicaid coverage, please call toll free
800.780.9972 statewide Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and
5 p.m. or email the Helpline staff at: