Shawnda O'Brien, Director of Public Assistance
Shawnda O'Brien


Lobby hours:
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
VCC/Phone hours:
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Phone: 800-478-7778
Fax: 888-269-6520

Division Overview

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Program Highlights


For non-clinical questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact 2-1-1.
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Division of Public Assistance

Public assistance promotes self-sufficiency and provides basic living expenses to Alaskans in need. Read more…

Our programs help with:

News & Updates

  • October 3, 2022 - Language Interpretation Services
    Did you know that DPA offers no-cost language interpretation services for people when they interact with the department? Callers can reach the division’s Virtual Contact Center in their preferred language, by using the numbers provided for commonly spoken languages that are listed on our Foreign Language Support page.

  • October 3, 2022 - Tips when calling the VCC
    Timelines for service – What you can Expect
    During COVID, eligibility requirements were relaxed and waived for many programs. As we unwind we want you to know our regular processing timeframes:
    • MAGI Medicaid ~ 45 days
    • Disability-based Medicaid ~ 90 days
    • All other programs ~ 30 days
    • SNAP expedited service ~ 7 days
    • Heating Assistance and General Relief Assistance ~ Emergency based
    We will continue to improve our systems and processes to give Alaskans the fastest possible service. Please use these tips for contacting our VCC to address any questions you may have.

  • September 13, 2022: The Virtual Call Center (VCC) is limiting options for callers on Wednesdays. Read more about our newWednesday Service Schedule to know what to expect and how to find the right queue.

  • July 1, 2022: Don’t risk a gap in your Medicaid coverage!
    No one knows yet when the Public Health Emergency will end, but the Divsion of Public Assistance wants you to be aware of these upcoming changes so you can be prepared and prevent any disruption of benefits.
  • June 30, 2022: Director’s letter about changes to supplements for SNAP recipients
  • June 24, 2022: Director's message regarding 2022 WIC service changes

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