Nearly every single Alaskan received $3,284 on Tuesday as part of a combined payout as the state began distributing oil-wealth checks from its permanent investment fund. The amount was announced during a livestream broadcast on Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Facebook page. Officially called the Permanent Fund Dividend, or PFD, the payments amounted to $2,622 — the highest amount ever. Alaska lawmakers also authorized an additional $662 as a one-time benefit in an effort to help residents with high energy costs.
The PFD program was established in 1976 and it is funded by revenue from Alaska’s mineral and oil riches. It’s offered to those living in Alaska, and there is a yearly application process and residency requirements to qualify for a dividend.
Amounts have varied over the years, and traditionally were calculated on a five-year rolling average to buffer downturns in the economy, per the AP. Residents received the first check, $1,000, in 1982. In 2021, qualifying residents received $1,114, but this year Alaskans have received significantly more. The total value of the fund was $73.6 billion as of Aug. 31.
In March, unexpected oil revenue to the state created a projected $3.6 billion increase to the revenue forecast over this year and the next, prompting calls for larger disbursements. While this year’s PFD payments are the highest on record, Forbes reports it’s the second largest in value when adjusted for inflation.