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


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.

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.

For questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact 2-1-1.

Alaska 2-1-1: Get connected. Get answers.
For non-clinical questions,
call 2-1-1.

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.

News & Updates

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

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