The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By LEE REVIS
Editor, Valdez Star 

Call it big bucks or small potatoes – Alaskans file for their share of the PFD

Window to apply for free cash from the state is only open for two more months

 

February 7, 2018



Over two hundred thousand Alaskans have applied for this coming year's Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend according to the Alaska Dept. of Revenue – that was after the application window had been open for 37 days.

Tuesday morning, the revenue department reported it had received 228,167 applications from Alaskans – looking for their share of the state's wealth.

The state begins accepting applications on Jan. 1 each year; the window to apply closes permanently – no pun intended – on March 31 at midnight.

This year's payout is unknown – and thanks to the state's financial troubles it is still unclear how much money from the fund's vast wealth – reported at over $65 billion Friday – will be distributed to Alaskans and how much will be allocated to pay Alaska's bills.

In 2015, eligible Alaskans received record-breaking checks of $2,072 each. The years 2016 and 2017 distributed half that amount when Gov. Bill Walker said he was forced to dip into the funds earnings to help fund government services after lawmakers failed to make enough cuts or add additional revenue to the state's coffers that were badly depleted due to low oil prices.

While there are competing ideas, bills and numerous other variables that will influence the 2018 PFD payout – the one fact that remains constant is that no Alaskan can receive a dividend if they don't apply for it during the application period.

The process is fairly simple – and is very easy if you were eligible and applied for a dividend last year.

Online applications are available at pdf.alaska.gov – 24 hours a day - until the process closes for the year.

Those looking for help with filing a PFD application can find it at the Legislative Information Office inside the State Building on Meals Ave.

First-time applicants must first prove to the state that they have met the

residency requirements needed to apply for a share of Alaska's wealth. In the old days, first-time filers had to actually mail their birth certificate and other documents to Juneau for certification before an application was complete. These days, you can bring the needed documentation to the LIO.

Graphic from Permanent Fund Dividend Corp.

Friday's breakdown of the assets owned by the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend – before Monday's stock market plunge.

Tony Gorman, who is in charge of the Valdez LIO, can examine documents on the spot, such as birth certificates and proof of residency.

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.

Applicants should go ahead and file even they do not have all of the required documents on hand at the time they apply; documentation can be submitted at a later time determined by the Dept. of Revenue.

While at the LIO applicants that show up in person can also get a first-hand look at how lawmakers are contemplating using this year's revenues from the fund.

 

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