Eligible Alaskans will receive a $3,284 check, which includes the annual Permanent Fund dividend and a one-time energy relief payment, starting Sept. 20.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the exact amount of the payments during a live stream Thursday at a Three Bears Alaska store in Palmer, highlighting why the check is needed to help Alaskans cope with the impacts of high inflation on grocery bills in addition to high energy prices.
“For a family of five, that’s over $16,000. That’s going to help pay for a lot of things,” Dunleavy said. “Everything from fuel, food, medical bills, car repairs, rent, you name it, it’s going to help.”
This year’s check breaks down into a dividend amount of $2,622 per person and an energy relief payment of $662, the Dunleavy administration confirmed. Alaskans who filed paper applications for the dividend or requested paper checks will receive them starting the week of Oct. 6. Alaskans who chose a direct deposit are set to receive their payments starting Sept. 20.
The Permanent Fund dividend is typically paid in October, but Dunleavy said in July that it would start being distributed three weeks early to help Alaskans prepare for the costs of winter. In 2020, a $992 dividend was paid in July to help Alaskans cope with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s dividend amount of $2,622, not adjusted for inflation, is the largest in state history, a fact that Dunleavy has touted. The nonpartisan Legislative Finance Division determined that in today’s dollars, the 2022 PFD is the sixth largest overall.
The combined dividend and energy relief check is the second highest paid out in real dollars after the one from 2008.
After a long, drawn-out fight in the state Capitol, the Alaska Legislature passed an operating budget in May with the two payments at a combined cost of $2.1 billion. The exact cash amount announced by the governor Thursday was determined by the number of people who applied for the annual dividend.
The Department of Revenue says that 634,000 Alaskans will receive this year’s dividend, a slight drop in the number of applicants from a year ago, and down from a high of 644,000 applicants in 2011.
The energy relief payment was appropriated in addition to the dividend to help Alaskans with 40-year high inflation and high gas prices, caused partly by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. A similar $1,200 “rebate” was paid to Alaskans in 2008 when energy prices were also high.
Since 2016, legislators and governors have determined the dividend amount during the annual budget-making process. This year’s dividend figure effectively followed the 50-50 model, which has been supported by Dunleavy and many legislators across political parties.
But that new dividend model has not been passed into law to replace the statutory formula, which had been used to calculate the size of the PFD between 1982 and 2015. If that formula had been followed this year, Alaskans would have received a dividend over $4,200, excluding the one-time energy relief payment.
High oil prices have hurt Alaska consumers but helped refill state coffers after more than a decade of deficit spending. Since Dunleavy signed the budget in June, the projected surplus has shrunk, and the Alaska Department of Revenue has forecast that the state will collect $715 million less in oil revenue over the current fiscal year than it expected in March.