Dividend amount double from last year

  • By DAN BALMER and KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:15pm
  • News

Gov. Sean Parnell on Wednesday announced the 2014 Permanent Fund Dividend would be $1,884 — more than double last year’s amount.

The first dividends will be paid Oct. 2 for the approximately 510,731 applicants who signed up to receive direct deposit into their bank account. Another 88,186 residents will be mailed a check, according to a press release from the Office of the Governor.

A total of 674,538 Alaskans applied for the dividend this year, which means a total distribution of $1.1 billion. The state saw an increase of approximately 1,587 applicants from 2013, according to the release.

Sarah Clinton, of Clam Gulch, had heard estimates prior to the announcement and expected it to be about $1,600.

“It was a good surprise,” she said about the more than $1,884 PFD. Clinton usually spends her check on credit card bills and a little bit of fun. This year, she plans to use some of the money during her vacation to Florida with her friends.

Kathryn Tomrdle, of Kenai, is going to save her PFD for retirement like she usually does.

“We’re very boring; we just put it away,” she said.

Jennifer Joseph, of Soldotna, plans to use her PFD to “get caught up until next year.” She plans to spend the money on childcare costs for her kids and bills. She said this year’s higher amount will help with expenses even more than usual.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Pick.Click.Give. program had 26,850 applicants go online and pledge approximately $2.8 million to 511 nonprofit groups. That’s the highest total since the program began six years ago.

The permanent fund has seen a 71 percent increase since 2009 when the recession saw the balance dip under $30 billion. By June 30, 2014, the fund had grown to $51.2 billion. In 2013, eligible Alaskans received a check of $900, according to the release.

“I want to congratulate the staff and trustees of the Permanent Fund Corporation on meeting the financial challenges of the last 5 years and for building Alaskans’ fund into a legacy we can all be proud of. I also want to extend my thanks to the Department of Revenue staff who processed the many applications,” Governor Parnell said.

This year is the 33rd dividend paid to Alaskans. An individual who qualified for all of the dividends to date has received $37,027.41. Following the 2014 dividend payment, the total funds paid to Alaskans since inception of the dividend program, will total more than $21.9 billion.

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com and Kaylee Osowski at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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