Is it true that you can get paid for living in Alaska? Yes – As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Payments are issued starting in June each year to every Alaska resident who qualifies.
If you’re moving to Alaska and want to learn more, we’ll show you exactly how it works. Payouts in the last 10 years have ranged from $878 to $2,072, so it’s well worth your time to understand whether you’re eligible and how to register for your dividend.
Curious where the money is coming from? First, we’ll take you through some quick history on the Alaska Permanent Fund.
What Is the Alaska Permanent Fund?
In the spring of 1968, oil was discovered on Alaska’s North Slope in Prudhoe Bay. By 1976, the state’s residents voted to pass a constitutional amendment that established the Permanent Fund. The fund was designed to convert the state’s oil and mineral resources into a renewable financial resource for future generations.
The fund’s first deposit in 1977 totaled $734,000 – or about $3,350,728 when adjusted for inflation. Over the last 40+ years, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation has invested the Permanent Fund across a number of asset classes in both private and public markets. As of April 2021, the value of the fund sits at $77,847,300,000.
Today, the Permanent Fund plays two roles. In addition to issuing annual dividends to eligible Alaska residents, it also supports Alaska’s state services and programs. Now that you understand where your payout is coming from, let’s investigate whether or not you’re entitled to a PFD payout this year.
Who’s Eligible for the PFD?
As fun as “getting paid to live in Alaska” sounds, it’s not as simple as crossing the border and collecting your payout. Instead, you’ll have to 1) determine whether or not you’re eligible, then 2) apply to receive your check or direct deposit. Here’s how it works:
To qualify for the Permanent Fund Dividend, you must:
- Have been a resident of Alaska for the entire previous calendar year and intend to remain an Alaska resident indefinitely, at least on the date you apply.
- Have not claimed residency in any other state, country or received any benefit as a result. If you were applying for the 2021 PFD payout, this must be true back to December 31, 2019.
- You also must be physically present in Alaska for at least 72 consecutive hours at some time during the previous two years.
- If you were absent from Alaska for more than 180 days in the previous calendar year, it must be for an allowable absence.
- You also must not have been sentenced or incarcerated as part of a felony conviction in the previous year. Or have been incarcerated during the previous year on a misdemeanor conviction if you’ve been convicted of a prior felony or two or more prior misdemeanors since January 1, 1997.
Whew! Got all that? Check out the Eligibility Requirements for more details. It might seem complex at first. However, for new residents, the most important requirement is the first one: You have to be a resident of Alaska for a full calendar year before you’re eligible for the PFD. Once you’ve cleared all these hurdles, applying for your PFD is pretty simple.
How to Apply for your PFD
Applications for the PFD are accepted from January 1 – March 31. You can either apply online on the Permanent Fund Dividend Division website. Paper applications are also available at Distribution Centers statewide.
A couple of pointers:
- PFD payouts are processed in the order they’re received. The sooner you get your application in, the sooner it will be processed.
- Each eligible person needs to fill out an application. Children need their own. So, if you’re married with two kids, you’ll need to submit four applications total.
- As a parent, file your application first. Then, you can file and sign your child’s PFD application.
Finally, if you start getting antsy and wonder where your check or deposit is, you can also monitor your PFD application status online.
How Much Is the PFD Payout?
Once you’ve put in your application, you might wonder how much money you can expect. It varies each year, but take a look at this chart to get a sense of the payouts from the last ten years:
As you can see, although the range is broad, the PFD amount hasn’t dipped below $878 in recent times. All that’s left is for you to figure out how to spend it.
How Do Alaskans Spend Their PFD?
You’ll find a whole spectrum of thinking around how to spend that PFD payout. Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
- Use the money to survive the Alaskan winter. Stockpile essentials, like heating oil, purchase a new furnace, or buy a new set of winter tires.
- Invest in your home, either by making improvements or purchasing a new appliance.
- Stockpile a little for a rainy day by putting some of your payout in an emergency fund.
- Pay down credit card debt.
- Buy a plane ticket to see your family or friends in the lower 48.
- Put your children’s payments into a college fund.
- Use Pick.Click.Give to donate a portion of your payout to a non-profit that supports a cause that you care about.
Finally, make sure you set aside a little for taxes. Although Alaska doesn’t have a personal income tax, your PFD is subject to federal income tax.
The Perks of Moving to Alaska
There are all kinds of reasons to move to Alaska. There’s no question; the PFD is one of them. However, there’s more to living in Alaska than a yearly check. Once you make the move to the Frontier State, you’ll have the opportunity to live in and around some of the most incredible, untouched wilderness that the United States has to offer. You’ll meet some unforgettable people and you’ll go on some remarkable adventures. It’s all waiting for you in Alaska.
Need some help making the move to Alaska? We’d be happy to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable transition to the Land of the Midnight Sun. Whether you’re moving to Anchorage or a remote location deep in the bush, we’ve got the experience and the expertise to make it happen. Get started with a complimentary quote for your relocation.
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