Legal Assistance in DC during the Coronavirus

Updated: Mar 25

Bread for the City





The Public Benefits team at Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic is working virtually to help people and families during the Pandemic. The Coronavirus has led to changes with DC’s benefits programs. Below is information about these changes, and if you have further questions or need assistance, please reach out to our Legal On-Call line at 202-386-7616.


Need to Apply for SNAP (food stamps), TANF (cash assistance), or Medicaid or Alliance (public health insurance)?


Apply through the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) by:

  • Using DHS’s new smartphone app. Go to https://dhs.dc.gov/dcaccess or search “DC First” in the Apple or Google Play store.

  • Applying online at https://dcbenefits.dhs.dc.gov/ or https://enroll.dchealthlink.com/users/sign_up (to apply for Medicaid)

  • Calling the DHS Call Center at 202-727-5355 to ask for an application to be mailed to you, OR

  • Picking up/dropping off an application at one of these Service Centers:

H Street Service Center: 645 H St., NE Congress Heights Service Center: 4049 South Capitol St., SW Taylor Street Service Center: 1207 Taylor St., NW *The Anacostia and Fort Davis Service Centers are temporarily closed*


EBT Cards are being mailed out. If you need your card sooner or if it does not arrive by mail, you can pick up your card at the H Street DHS office or 1649 Good Hope Rd SE.


Are You Due to Recertify for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, or Alliance in DC?


SNAP and TANF recertifications are starting up again in March, 2021. You can recertify on the DHS website or on the DC First app, or you can drop recertification documents off at a service center.


You will be sent a notice in the mail when it is time for you to recertify. If you need to update your mailing address, call the DHS Call Center at 202-727-5355.


Medicaid and Alliance have been extended through at least the middle of May, 2021. There is no need to report any changes for these programs, or to recertify.


For SNAP, there is no need to do a mid-certification report or interim contact during this time.


Do You Have a Child in a DC Public School?


If your child qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch, you will likely receive Pandemic EPT (PEBT) to get an additional amount of SNAP money for the 2020-2021 school year. DC is waiting on instructions from the federal government before they release this money. We think this money will be released as a lump sum in the Spring.


If your child was not receiving free or reduced-price lunch through the National School Lunch Program last year, but you think your child was eligible, contact your child’s school to apply.


If you have not enrolled your child in school for the 2020-2021 academic year, make sure to enroll them. Children must be enrolled in school to qualify for P-EBT. If you have not updated your home address with your child’s school this year, make sure you do so. For families without EBT cards, new cards will be sent out to the address the school has on file.


Was your Medicaid or Alliance Managed Care Organization (MCO) Recently Changed? Do You Want to Change to a Different MCO?


Many people that previously received “straight Medicaid” have now been placed in an MCO.


Many people previously assigned to one MCO were moved to a different MCO.

*Call 1-800-620-7802 to request a transfer to a different MCO*


Seeking Other Legal Help?


Our Family, Immigration, and Housing law teams are working hard to help Washingtonians in need. Our Family practice represents domestic violence survivors in custody, divorce and Civil Protection Order matters, and also assists both custodial and noncustodial parents in parentage and child support cases (with no domestic violence necessary). The Immigration team specializes in assisting survivors of domestic violence in immigration-related matters, and our Housing team can help tenants with eviction defense, voucher termination, and housing conditions matter.

For more information, please call Legal On-Call line at 202-386-7616.


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