2022 Alaska PFD: Announcement, Amount, and News

Last Updated June 28, 2022. The Governor has signed the operating budget, which includes a combined payment of roughly $3,200 between the PFD and energy relief check.

Note: This page will be updated in real-time as any new information about the PFD becomes available each year, including dates and times of any announcements.

Does this page look familiar? That’s because it probably is. I’ve been updating this PFD information page since 2008. As a life-long Alaskan, the dividend is, of course, on my list of interests. As a website owner, I thought, why not add a news and update page for the PFD?  At the very top of the page, you’ll always see a “last updated” message to verify all info is current and from this year.

Quick Navigation:
PFD announcement time
What’s happening with the PFD?
Will there be a second payment for 2021?
How much will the 2022 PFD be?
When will the 2022 PFD be paid?
What’s happening with the prior-year PFD backpay?
How much should the PFD have been in prior years?
PFD projections

When will the 2022 PFD be announced?

The amount of the Alaska permanent fund dividend is usually announced in mid-September, typically the 18th to 22nd sometime, but since 2017 there has not been an announcement. Just a randomly appearing note on the PFD division website. In 2017, it appeared September 4th,  in 2018 on September 14th, in 2019 on September 27th, and in 2020 it was June 12th (as the dividend was paid July 1st). In 2021, the amount was published by the Alaska Department of Revenue via a media advisory on September 30th. The PFD website updated with the amount the following day. The release was delayed as a result of legislative action that also delayed the PFD payment.2021 Alaska PFD amount

What’s happening with the PFD? How did it get cut?

As the state faces a budget “crisis,” attempts to restructure the PFD program to fund government services continue.

Former Governor Walker’s push for the PFD began with SB128 in 2015, which passed in the Senate, but failed to pass in the House and was deemed “dead” as the session ended. However, Walker was on a mission to cut into the PFD…

In June 2016, he vetoed a portion of the PFD funding on the state budget, limiting the 2016 PFD to $1,000. That had never been done before, but any veto can be overridden by the legislature with a majority vote.  Nonetheless, they did not use that power, and the veto stood.

There was a court case filed by Bill Wielechowski, along with former Republican Alaska state Senate presidents Clem Tillion and Rick Halford, which attempted to challenge the legality of this veto. A verdict was awarded in the state’s favor by Judge William Morse. Wielechowski  filed an appeal with the Supreme court, but that verdict upheld the superior court’s decision.

Walker’s 2017 budget proposal included a new (nearly identical) bill to SB128. This, and other bills like it, struggled for passage and remained undecided as the legislative session (and extensive special sessions) came to a close. Regardless, the operating budget did pass in both the House and Senate. This budget capped 2017 PFDs at $1,100.

On May 8, 2018, SB26 passed the legislature. It capped withdrawals from the fund at 5.25 percent before dropping to 5 percent in 2021. It did not alter the way the PFD is calculated.

Walker withdrew from the 2018 gubernatorial election, and Mike Dunleavy took office December 3, 2018.

In 2019, Dunleavy presented a drastically reduced budget, which the legislature ultimately rejected almost entirely, instead using Walker’s previous budget proposal. After a budget debate that nearly shut down the state government, the legislature eventually submitted a budget compromise that did not include a PFD at all, suggesting the 2019 PFD would be placed in a separate bill. That budget was signed by the Governor with extensive vetoes.

The PFD then became a major political issue as many sources began to sell the narrative that the large budget vetoes issued by Dunleavy were “to pay a bigger PFD,” despite the PFD and budget being separate issues.

Lawmakers were called to a special session focused solely on the PFD in July 2019. This session was set to occur in Wasilla by the Governor, but a portion of the legislature chose to meet in Juneau. The Governor later moved the special session to Juneau and added the capital budget to its scope.

HB2001, which reversed a great deal of the budget vetoes and included the PFD, was the result of that session. While the exact amount of the PFD was not set in HB2001, the total amount for all PFDs was, which resulted in a payment of $1,606 per person. Dunleavy could have vetoed the PFD funds and continued to fight for the full amount, but this would have resulted in a late payment or no payment of the 2019 PFD.

Given this, Dunleavy didn’t veto the PFD from HB2001, stating he would continue to fight for the remaining funds in another special session. That special session did not take place, and the regular session began in January 2020 as usual.

Dunleavy’s budget plan for fiscal year 2021 did include a full PFD. He also submitted a budget amendment calling for a supplemental appropriation that would pay out an additional $1,306 to cover the shortage from the 2019 PFD in February of 2020. The bills for that supplemental payment (HB259 and SB205) were referred to the respective finance rules committees and never moved forward.

In March 2020, in response to COVID-19 economic fall-out, Dunleavy requested that the legislature release the $1,306 remaining from the 2019 PFD in April and issue a payment from the 2020 PFD early (~$1,550 in June) with the remaining amount to be paid in October via an amendment to the operating budget. These proposals were not approved by the legislature.

The Senate approved a slightly reduced version of the proposed 2019 back pay amendment, calling it a “supplemental” PFD at $1,000 rather than $1,306. However, that failed to pass in the House and was later removed from the budget in committee negotiations. No action was taken on the early PFD payment suggestion. Despite attempts in both the House and Senate to fund a full PFD, a budget passed both bodies that only included enough funding for a dividend of around $1,000.

Dunleavy signed that budget, which, after applications were processed, set the 2020 PFD at $992. He then moved the PFD payment date from October to July. That was an early, not additional, payment. Although Dunleavy stated during a virtual town hall meeting that he was still in discussion with the legislature regarding a second PFD payment in October, that payment was never approved.

In December 2020, Dunleavy released his Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which included an additional $1,916 from the 2020 PFD to be paid around March, as well as a fully funded 2021 PFD at approximately $3,056. This budget, of course, required approval from the legislature. The regular session began in January 2021 and ended in May. No action was taken on the Spring PFD proposal. It remained in committee when the session closed.

Dunleavy proposed SJR 6 in May 2021, which suggested a change in the formula used to calculate PFDs moving forward with no less than 50% of any money that comes from the fund going to dividends and called the legislature into a special session beginning May 20th, which focused on the PFD.

Before that session, the Senate passed a budget that included funds for a PFD in line with that which was proposed in SJR 6. The House did not concur, and the budget went to conference committee. The budget conference committee agreed to a $1,100 PFD. However, part of the funds for that payment were tied to what’s referred to as the “reverse sweep,” which requires a supermajority three-quarters vote.

That vote failed in both the House and Senate, reducing funds available for the dividend to around $525. The House also failed to pass an effective date for the budget, and Dunleavy stated in a press conference that he couldn’t sign it as-is. The legislature began another special session June 23rd and officially passed the budget on June 29th. Dunleavy signed that budget but vetoed the PFD.

Another special session began August 16th to discuss the dividend and a long-term fiscal plan. Dunleavy submitted a new budget bill (HB3003) August 19th that allowed for a PFD of approximately $2,350 per the Fiscal Policy Working Group’s recommendation. That bill, of course, required approval by the legislature.

During that process, the House reduced the PFD in HB3003 to $1,100, which passed both the House and Senate. Dunleavy signed the bill September 15th but called the legislature back into session to, in his words, “get the rest of this year’s PFD.” That special session was held from October 4th to November 3rd and focused on bills relating to a supplemental 2021 PFD, the permanent fund dividend program, new revenues, and constitutional amendments relating to the PFD or spending limit.

Will there be a second payment for 2021?

Among the bills heard during the last special session of 2021 were HB4001/SB4001 put forth by the governor for a second PFD payment. This second payment would have amounted to roughly $1,200 per recipient. HB4001 remained in the House Ways & Means committee and SB4001 in the Senate Finance Committee as the special session ended. Dunleavy did not schedule a 5th session. However, his FY2023 proposed budget, released December 2021, included funding for the second payment (approximately $1,200) along with a roughly $2,564 PFD. The regular session began in January.

In February, Dunleavy released a supplementary budget plan with amendments to his proposed budget, which provided slightly different estimates at $1,250 for the spring payment from the 2021 PFD and for the $2,500 2022 PFD. The legislature heard a range of PFD bills in addition to this budget, many focusing on different payment formulas, but none passed. You can view a full list of bills relating to the PFD here. The legislative session has now closed, and no special sessions are scheduled at this time. As a result, there’s no indication any additional payment for 2021 will be made.

How much will the 2022 PFD be?

In April, the House passed an operating budget (HB281), which included a  $1,300 “Energy Relief Check” similar to the one paid by Sarah Palin in 2008 that would be paid alongside a 2022 PFD of roughly $1,250 PFD. The Senate later amended that budget to include a $4,200 PFD, but the House did not concur with the Senate’s version, and the budget went to a joint conference committee for negotiation.

That committee settled on a total payment of around $3,850, but due to the chosen funding source, part of those funds required a majority vote, which failed, reducing the energy relief check by $650. The final operating budget, which was signed by the Governor June 28th, includes a roughly $2,550 PFD and $650 in energy relief, making for an estimated 2022 PFD payment of approximately $3,200.

When will the 2022 PFD be paid?

Dividend payments typically disburse in early October, often the 2nd. While there have been rumors that all or part of the 2022 PFD may be paid in July (as was done in 2020), no official action has been taken suggesting that will occur at this time. It’s possible some confusion may stem from the Permanent Fund Dividend website, which currently lists a payment schedule for 2021 (and prior year) dividend applications that includes a July payment. That schedule is not relevant to the 2022 PFD payment.

What about back pay for 2016 to 2020 PFDs?

Dunleavy ran a campaign that focused heavily on the PFD, which promised to not only restore the previous calculation method and ensure it’s followed in the future but also to return funds withheld in prior years. When this back pay would be delivered (should it actually be paid) is also not clear, but in an interview, Dunleavy stated no payment could be issued without legislative action. Dunleavy does not have the power to issue back pay without legislative approval.

In a press release regarding SJR 6 in 2021, Dunleavy reiterated that any back pay was still in the hands of the legislature. Thus far, despite multiple bills/amendments made by Dunleavy and other legislative members since 2018, no effort to pay back prior PFDs has made significant traction.

PFD payment in land?

In February 2020, Dunleavy also presented a PFD land voucher bill. The bills (HB270/SB217) would have allowed those receiving a PFD to claim double the value of that PFD in a land voucher that could be used towards the purchase of state land. This program would have been optional. Those who prefer a traditional check would have still been able to receive one.  These bills were left in committee.

How much would the 2016 to 2021 PFDs have been without the cap?

As many of us know, the PFD amount is usually calculated using the last five years of the fund’s returns by:

-Adding the fund’s Statutory Net Income from the last 5 years.
-Multiplying by 21%.
-Dividing by 2.
-Subtracting the prior-year obligations, expenses, and PFD operations.
-Dividing by the number of eligible applicants.

Below are the statutory net income numbers released by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC), which should be used to calculate the PFD:

(expressed as millions rounded)

FY 2012 1,568-dropped off in 2017.

FY 2013 2,928-dropped off in 2018.
FY 2014 3,531-dropped off in 2019.
FY 2015: 2,907-dropped off in 2020.
FY 2016: 2,198-dropping off in 2021.
FY 2017: 3,214
FY 2018: 6,324
FY 2019: 3,305
FY 2020: 3,106
FY 2021: 7,962

In 2021, about 643,000 eligible Alaskans received a PFD. As low years have fallen away, the fund should have offered high returns for residents over the next decade.

Just how high?

As it stands the PFD cuts have cost Alaskans about $9,682 per person–a major blow to families with kids. PFD estimates for the last six years are as follows:

2016: $2,083  vs. $1,022 paid     Unpaid: $1,061
2017: $2,390 vs.  $1,100 paid      Unpaid: $1,290
2018: $2,982 vs. $1,600  paid     Unpaid: $1,382
2019: $2,910 vs. $1,606  paid      Unpaid: $1,304
2020: $3,064 vs. $992 paid         Unpaid: $2,072
2021: $3,687 vs. $1,114 paid         Unpaid: $2,573

In February 2019, as part of a presentation to the Senate State Affairs committee, the Alaska Department of Revenue released the following graph. It shows PFD projections for 10 years based on expected returns if back pay was not paid (orange) and if it were (blue). By “status quo,” they mean the standard calculation method without caps. As you can see, this puts PFDs estimated at over $3,000 per year through FY2029–assuming no legislative action somehow derails things.

A second PFD projection table was presented to the Senate Finance Committee in April 2019 to show what enacting SB103 would have meant for the PFD amount and public service funding. SB103 sought to split the then 5.25 percent draw taken via SB26 50/50, with 50 percent going to the state, and 50 percent to PFDs. That would have eliminated the use of the long-standing traditional five-year average method currently being ignored.

SB103 never made it out of committee, but similar bills persist. This table also projects PFDs to stay above $3,000 through FY2028 (“1982 Formula” is the current 5-year average approach).

PFD projections SB103

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