Roughly 604,000 Alaskans filed for their Permanent Fund dividends online this year, an all-tine high for online filers.
The Dunleavy Administration had extended the deadline for applications from March 30 to April 30 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency.
State PFD offices have been closed to the public since mid-March due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, which prompted the governor to extend the deadline.
Online applications do not tell the whole story, because there are paper applications that some Alaskans filed, which are not included in this count. That number is usually available several weeks after the application deadline.
Last year’s total number of applicants was 668,588. Of those, 631,000 were actually eligible for the annual share of the state’s oil royalty.
Some 670,759 applied in 2018, and of those 639,247 were eligible.
The state’s population was thought to be about 736,000, in 2018, but has likely dropped in the past two years. The State Department of Labor estimates it to be just over 731,000 this year.
The number of people applying for the dividend has likewise dropped for several years after reaching a high in 2012 of 679,633.
This year’s dividend will be $1,000, as set by the House and Senate majorities. It’s the same amount as the first dividend was back in 1982, when it was issued in June of that year.
Today’s $1,000 has purchasing power of $366, compared with 1982.
For this year’s dividend to have the purchasing power that $1,000 had in 1982, the dividend would need to be $2,675.
Last year, the Legislature set the dividend at $1,600, while the statutory amount that should have been paid to Alaskans was $2,910. This year’s statutory amount was close to $3,000, and much controversy exists in Alaska about whether the full amount should be paid, or the $1,000 that the Legislature ended up appropriating.