Newcomers can get documentation certified at Valdez LIO
Salmon, gold mining and mind-numbing cold may symbolize Alaska living to those in the Lower 48, but real Sourdoughs know that nothing represents it more than receiving the dividend. Sharon Lawrence at the Valdez Legislative Information Office (LIO) can help applicants – especially first-timers – with Permanent Fund Dividend applications.
Online applications will be available at pdf.alaska.gov beginning Thursday, January 1, 2014 or in old-fashioned paper form at the LIO on January 2.
While applying for the dividend is easy for those who received it the year before and have a computer, first-time applicants must first prove to the state that they have met the residency requirements needed to apply for the yearly share of Alaska's wealth. In the old days, first-time filers had to actually mail actual birth certificates and other documents to Juneau for certification before an application was complete. These days, you can bring the needed documentation to the LIO and Lawrence can certify original documents on the spot.
First time or lapsed PFD applicants need to allow extra time for the application process according to Alaska officials and certified copies of original identification documents are needed to complete the process, as is proof when actual residency began, such as original lease agreements or proof of the purchase of a home. Lawrence can certify these documents on the spot.
In Valdez, the LIO is located in the State Courthouse Rm. 13. It's open 8:30 to 12 and 1 to 4:30 Monday through Friday.
If you do not have all your documentation, you should file the application anyway and submit the rest of the documentation; you will be notified later when the last deadline for submitting documentation is allowed.
Establishing residency, especially for those in the military, can be tricky, as can proving it.
"The Permanent Fund Dividend Division cannot determine eligibility without a completed application," the Dept. of Revenue says. "An individual's intent to establish residency, remain indefinitely in Alaska, or to return to Alaska and remain indefinitely is demonstrated through the establishment and maintenance of customary ties indicative of Alaska residency and the absence of those ties in another state or country."
You also have to live in Alaska an entire calendar year beginning before Dec. 31, 2012 to be eligible to receive a dividend in 2014.
It also contains a disclaimer, that online information is only a summary of state laws and statutes governing dividend eligibility.
Last year's dividend was $900.
The actual amount of the dividend varies each year and is calculated using a complex formula based on the fund's investment returns from previous years, less administrative costs, the number of valid applicants and other variables.
While full details of the 2014 payout will not be known until late summer, it is important to apply as soon as possible when the application period opens January 1. It closes for all applicants March 31, no exceptions. Direct deposits to bank accounts generally go out in early October.