Deb Etheridge

Lobby hours:
M-F, 9am to 4pm
VCC/Phone hours:
M-F, 8am to 5pm
Contacts & Office Closures

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.

Alaska 2-1-1: Get connected. Get answers.


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 iconSeptember 29, 2023 - Federal Government Shutdown
    Ahead of the pending federal government shutdown, we would like Alaskans to please note the following:

    October Public Assistance benefits will continue during a federal shutdown.

    The Division of Public Assistance does not anticipate an impact on benefits for eligible participants in its programs because of the pending federal government shutdown.

    The department is working with the Division of Public Assistance and governor’s office to find solutions to keep benefits going if the federal shutdown continues for a longer period. While we are reviewing for possible impacts to aid Alaskans, it is not possible to fully anticipate all situations and supports because each person has unique circumstances.

    In the event of a federal government shutdown, the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) has a plan in place which will ensure SNAP benefits will be funded through October. If the shutdown goes beyond October, the feds have stated they will provide guidance to states.

    Medicaid is funded through the first quarter of fiscal year 24, or December 31, 2023

    WIC Benefits are funded through December 31, 2023

    The Department of Health and Division of Public Assistance will continue to help Alaskans in any way possible.

    For more information and updates refer to the Public Assistance website. People can contact the division’s Virtual Contact Center at 800-478-7778 for status on their case.

  • September 28, 2003 - SNAP Interviews to Resume October 2nd
    During COVID, Alaska was able to work SNAP applications without the required interview. This ends on September 30th, and interviews are starting again for new applicants and recertifications on October 2nd. If your household is due, we will schedule an interview for you when we register your SNAP application or recertification. Reviews for other programs with no SNAP involvement will continue to be processed without requiring an interview.
  • September 13, 2023 - Replacement of Electronically Stolen SNAP Benefits
    The Consolidated Appropriations Act included a temporary provision that allows for the replacement of electronically stolen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. States will only be able to replace SNAP benefits that were electronically stolen from October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2024. (Read More)
  • June 20, 2023 - Interim Reports for SNAP recipients
    Starting June 1, 2023, the division requires SNAP households to complete and return a report halfway through their certification period to continue eligibility. For more information, see:
  • April 20, 2023 - Public Health Emergency Ending
    The COVID-19 public health emergency is set to expire on May 11, 2023. This means that the flexibilities permitted during the PHE will end, but the end date will vary depending on the type of flexibility approved by CMS. Find out more on the Alaska Department of Health’s Public Health Emergency Ending website.

  • Project ECHOUAA Project ECHO Pop-Up: Medicaid Renewals

  • April 4th, Noon-1pm

    The Division of Public Assistance (DPA) will host a webinar about the return of annual Medicaid renewals on April 4th from noon to 1 p.m. This will be an excellent opportunity for Medicaid recipients, providers, advocacy groups, Tribal entities and media to learn more about the Medicaid renewal process, engage in two-way conversation, and ask questions about eligibility. The webinar will be hosted by UAA Project ECHO and a recording will be available after the event. (Webinar Registration)

Medicaid Renewals, Stay Covered. Get ready to renew! 

  • New iconFebruary 15, 2023 - Medicaid Renewals
    Alaska will return to the regular pre-pandemic process of Medicaid annual renewals beginning April 1, 2023. When it is your turn for renewal, we will recheck your eligibility to make sure you still qualify for coverage.
  • January 11, 2023 – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    SNAP requires most households receiving benefits to demonstrate that they continue to meet program eligibility criteria every six months. This process is called recertification. As part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement for recertification was suspended. In July 2022, this requirement was reinstated, and DPA must request that SNAP households provide documentation to review eligibility. To better address questions the public may have about processing these recertifications, DPA has compiled some answers to these Frequently Asked Questions.
  • January 11, 2023 - SNAP recertification application timelines:
    • Filed on or before the 15th of the last month of the current certification period, uninterrupted SNAP benefits.
    • Filed after the 15th but before the end of the certification period, within 30 days.
    • Applications filed during the month following the expiration of the certification period are considered initial applications and follow timeframes for regular and expedited SNAP applications.
    We will continue to improve our systems and processes to give Alaskans the fastest possible service.

  • October 20 - For Posting:Informational Flyer for SNAP Recipients and Retailers in Southwest Disaster Areas
    Now through Nov. 4, SNAP recipients living in disaster areas caused by Typhoon Merbok can use their Quest Card for “hot” and prepared foods.

  • October 17 - Hot Foods for SNAP recipients in Southwest Disaster Areas: See our announcement about Special Disaster Rules for Accepting SNAP EBT Benefits for Hot Foods Purchases for details on how to use SNAP benefits, and a list of retailers who can participate (but are not required to do so.)

  • 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
    • 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 Contact 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
  • May 13, 2022: Director’s letter about supplements for Temporary Assistance recipients
  • May 12, 2022:Director’s letter about supplements for Heating Assistance recipients 
  • February 18, 2022:  Voluntary recall for certain powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare
    The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners are investigating four consumer complaints of infant illness related to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility received from 9/20/2021 to 1/11/2022. These formulas may be contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii which is a bacterium. Illness from this organism is rare, but infection can cause meningitis and septicemia in infants. The infection can be fatal or result in long-term complications.

    For more information, view the alerts from the federal Food and Drug Administration and press release from Abbott Formulas.

    On February 18, 2022, Abbott issued a voluntary recall for certain powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare. DO NOT feed your baby formula if it is included in this recall. Abbott recommends that parents dump the formula but keep the cans. Further information for reimbursement or replacement is anticipated from Abbott.

    Affected products can be identified by:
    • the first two digits of the code on the container are 22 through 37, and
    • the code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
    • the "use-by" date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.
  • Visit or call 800-986-8540 to find out if your formula is included.

    Affected powder formulas (only produced in Sturgis, MI):
    • 12.6 oz Total Comfort powder
    • 12.5 oz Similac for Spit Up powder
    • All EleCare powder Infant and Jr
    • All Alimentum powder
    Partially Affected powder formula (produced in Sturgis, MI as well as other plants)
    • 12.5 oz Similac Sensitive powder
    • 12.4 oz Similac Advance powder
    Not Affected (not produced at Sturgis, MI plant)
    • Isomil
    • NeoSure
    • All concentrated liquids and ready to feeds
  • January 13, 2022: Phishing Alert!
    ImportantPlease be aware that the Division of Public Assistance does not send text messages. Be suspicious of any texts you receive about SNAP or other Public Assistance programs.

  • December 20, 2021:
    One Fax Number for All Division of Public Assistance Offices

    As part of the division’s ongoing effort to improve statewide services we are moving toward a single fax number for all offices beginning January 2022. The division will phase out local office numbers as the statewide number becomes active. The new toll-free fax number is 888-269-6520, and Anchorage area residents can dial 907-269-6520. Please update your contact information for our agency as appropriate.

    We’re modernizing our systems to become more efficient and responsive. The new fax number will interface with the division’s workload processing tool, which schedules tasks for staff statewide as they become available. This will also interface with the division’s Virtual Contact Center, which allows staff members to instantly access client information when people call.

    Reminder to Update Mailing Addresses
    During the pandemic the division has been improving ways to assist Alaskans in need. Even though we’re moving toward a more centralized, electronic service delivery model, we still require a current mailing address for participation in our programs. For this reason, people who use our services are encouraged to update their mailing address if needed to assist in the smooth delivery of services. You can drop off or mail information to any local office, or use the centralized phone, email or fax at:  

    Virtual Contact Center: 800-478-7778
    (TDD/Alaska Relay: 7-1-1)
    Offices Email:
    Secure Email (requires a DSM account):
    Fax: 888-269-6520, Anchorage 907-269-6520

    Equal opportunity program and provider.

  • November 12, 2021:
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotments

    The division received approval from the federal Food and Nutrition Service to distribute October and November emergency allotments (EA) for SNAP recipients. Approval of SNAP EA is based on a public health emergency declaration by the secretary of Health and Human Services and a state-issued emergency or disaster declaration. EA helps households meet temporary food needs during the public health emergency by providing the maximum monthly benefit for their household size and allows all households to receive at least $95 monthly in EA.

    The division will process October and November benefits for eligible households during November. Due to the complexity and manual work involved in processing EA, it is likely that benefits will not be fully processed for these months until December.

    SNAP recipients can contact our Virtual Contact Center at 1-800-478-7778 with any questions about the EA or status of their case.

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Update
    Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (PL 116–127), as amended by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (PL 116-159), provides the Secretary of Agriculture authority to approve state agency plans to administer P-EBT.

    Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

    The division is working as quickly as possible to issue the Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) supplements for the recent school year. The division is coordinating with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to implement Food and Nutrition Service guidance. Applications and information will be available to serve recipients and school districts. Please continue checking our website for updates. Thank you for your patience.

  • July 28, 2021: Long Term Care now available through the Virtual Contact Center (VCC)

    Long Term Care callers can now use the Virtual Contact Center line 1-800-478-7778 to connect with a caseworker.

  • When calling the VCC callers will be able to:
    1. enter their assigned caseworker’s extension to transfer directly, or
    2. wait for a staff member to transfer to the caseworker or a Long Term Care supervisor if there is no assigned caseworker
  • June 17, 2021: Receiving an error when you swipe your P-EBT card? Call 888-997-8111 or 800-478-7778 or Email us at

    The latest mailing of Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards to families included cards with unreadable magnetic stripes. Although families can access benefits if the retailer uses information on the card, it will be easier to use the card by swiping the card. Families can contact customer service using information on the back of the card, or contact our Virtual Contact Center or email our offices to request a replacement card. We apologize for this inconvenience. For more information P-EBT, please see our frequently asked questions page.

  • May 17, 2021 - Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Issuance of Spring 2020 Benefits – FAQs

  • Heating Assistance
    The division is processing Heating Assistance applications statewide. People who want to apply can contact our Virtual Contact Center at 800-478-7778 or email for help. Once an application is received, the division will send notice. The notice includes an ID number and contact information for our automated hotline to check the status of an application.

  • 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.

    • 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

April 2, 2020 - Simplified contact email and phone for all offices

All inquiries can now be directed to our Virtual Contact Center at 1-800-478-7778 or by email at Long Term Care inquiries can be addressed directly to the office.

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.


  • 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.