This year’s permanent fund dividend is $900.
While expectations were low, but this year’s dividend check is slightly higher than the $878 amount paid out last year. Acting Revenue Commissioner Angela Roddell says next year’s check will be even bigger.
“The permanent fund balance has continued to grow. It was $40 billion a year ago; it’s $45 billion this year,” Roddell said at a press conference on Wednesday. “They continue to do a really good job at the corporation. So, I would expect next year’s number to be even higher.”
The dividend is calculated using the average income earned by the Permanent Fund Corporation over the past five years. Because the past few checks included 2009 earnings, when the global economy bottomed out, they’ve been a lot lower than the amounts paid out in the previous decade.
This year, 640,436 Alaskans are eligible for a PFD. That’s nearly a 7,000-person drop over last year, even though Alaska’s population is growing.
“We’ve looked into a number of different reasons as to why that might be the case, whether it’s because a smaller dividend amount maybe incentivizes people to not apply,” said Rodell. “But the PFD and the Department of Revenue had worked really hard on pursuing the fraud tips that have come in on PFD. So, I think people are on notice that we are going to take the application very seriously and confirm information that is presented. And so people might be thinking twice before they put in a fraudulent application.”
Of the Alaskans getting checks, about 26,000 recipients donated part or all of their dividend to non-profit groups through “Pick.Click.Give.” It was a record year for the program, with 471 organizations splitting $2.5 million in donations.
Alaskans who have been collecting dividends since the program began will now have received $36,343 from the state.
Dividends will be paid out on October 3.