For the first time since 2013, the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend will be less than $1,000

Alaskans file their Permanent Fund dividend applications in downtown Anchorage in March 2016. (Rachel Waldholz/Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Permanent Fund dividend going out in July will be $992. The amount announced on Friday is $8 less than the Alaska Legislature estimated when it budgeted for the annual dividend.

The difference is due to a higher than expected amount being set aside to cover other costs paid for out of the dividend funding.

“If they look at their stub when they get their PFD … similar to a paycheck, you have a gross amount and the net amount,” explained Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division Director Anne Weske.

Those costs include allowing Alaskans who would be ineligible to receive social services if dividends were counted in their income to continue to receive benefits.

They also include paying the administrative costs of the division that oversees the PFD program, as well as the health care of prisoners in the state.

Dividends will begin going out on July 1, more than three months earlier than normal.

Roughly 640,000 Alaskans will receive PFDs this year. Of those, 580,000 are scheduled to receive them in early July, with roughly 540,000 receiving direct deposits and 40,000 receiving paper checks.

Weske says the division is working to check the information on the rest of the applications, to get those dividends out as soon as possible.

“It’s quite a bit earlier in the season than we’re used to paying it,” she said. “And so we are working at mach speeds with temp staff on board to help us out, but we’re just asking for patience from Alaskans.”

The last time the dividend was less than $1,000 was 2013. Alaskans got $900 that year.

Adjusted for inflation, there have been only five dividends of less than $1,000 in today’s dollars since the program started in 1982.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said he wants the state to follow the formula in a 1982 state law. His office estimated the amount under that formula would have been $3,064.

Majorities in both legislative chambers rejected the proposal, with lawmakers saying drawing from the permanent fund’s earnings reserve to pay out more would threaten the financial health of the fund, the dividend, the state budget and the future of the state’s economy.