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


Division Overview

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Division of Public Assistance

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

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2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

DHSS is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Learn more about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Updates to Public Assistance Benefits

The Division of Public Assistance is committed to assisting our neighbors in need and we are working diligently to provide the highest level of customer service possible during this difficult time in our communities. This situation is changing rapidly and we are anticipating many changes in the coming days and weeks. While offices are not providing in-person service at this time, lobbies are open to pick up and drop off information and applications. We can provide service by mail, phone, fax, and email.

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.

 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.

News & Updates

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.

Additional funding available for child care providers through Alaska’s CARES funding
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Child Care Program Office (CCPO) has received an additional $10.5 million to be distributed to Alaska’s child care providers to offset revenue lost during April and May for the care of children who are not eligible for child care assistance. Read more...

Social distancing options when paying for groceries with SNAP benefits during COVID-19
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.

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