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2012 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend payout: $878

Alaska Dispatch
Loren Holmes photo

The number on every Alaskan’s mind was announced Tuesday morning by Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher in Anchorage. This year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividend payout is $878. The dividend will be distributed to eligible Alaska residents on Oct. 4.

Altogether, there were 677,333 Alaska PFD applicants this year, and about 646,805 should qualify, Butcher said. The amount of money disbursed will be a little over $567 million. The oldest applicant was 107 years old, and the youngest was born "minutes before" the qualification deadline on December 31, 2011.

Also benefitting from this year's dividend are 413 nonprofits, which through the "Pick.Click.Give." program will cumulatively see $2.2 million in charitable donations taken from Alaskans' dividends. Butcher said that about 23,000 Alaskans pledged about 37,000 donations to reach that total.

PFD checks will begin to be deposited into people's accounts on Thursday, Oct. 4 for those who signed up for direct deposit. Checks requested by mail will be sent out the same day.

Alaska's Permanent Fund closed fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, valued at $40.3 billion. That's up $193 million from last year. The PFD managed to stay flat in fiscal year 2012, returning 0.02 percent, despite volatile global markets and stocks that performed poorly. 

The payout, which is derived from a formula based on a five-year average of PFD earnings, is less than 2011’s payout of $1,174 and is the smallest check since 2005, when the check came to $845.76.  Over the years, the amount of the Permanent Fund check has ranged from a low of $331.29 in 1984, to a high of $2,069 in 2008.

The Permanent Fund was established in 1976, with voters passing a constitutional amendment to create the fund (check out a historical timeline of the PFD). The first PFD payout was in 1982, with a payout of $1,000.

In 2009, the charitable giving program Pick.Click.Give was created, and $545,000 was gifted to charities across the state. 2011 saw a huge increase in giving through the program, with $1.57 million donated.

More information on the PFD is available here.