How To Get Paid To Live In Alaska: [Over $45k Paid Out]


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Alaska is filled with beautiful scenery and wildlife. However, its distance from the rest of the states can be a deal-breaker for many people looking to relocate somewhere new. However, there are creative ways to make money just by living there. Yes, you can get paid to live in Alaska. These options for receiving compensation to live in Alaska may entice you to make a move.

Here’s how to get paid to live in Alaska:

  1. Move to Alaska.
  2. Remain a permanent resident of Alaska.
  3. Apply for a housing grant.
  4. Get a job in Alaska.
  5. Apply to an outdoors exploration program.
  6. Start a small business.

Living in Alaska is by no means free, but with programs granting payout to live there, low real estate prices, and no sales tax, Alaska can be an affordable and fantastic place to live. This article will explore how and why people get paid for moving up to our 49th state, so let’s get started.

1. Move to Alaska

Alaska can sound like a foreign place to many due to the distance from what we’re used to. However, it’s a beautiful state rich in natural beauty. Moving there can have many financial benefits, as there are multiple ways to get paid to move there and many incentives offered.

The simplest way to get paid to live in Alaska is by moving to Alaska. You might wonder why, considering how cold it is there in the winter, but that is precisely why you should move there. You can be a part of the oil field’s dividend program.

The Alaskan State Government started a program in 1982 entitled the “Alaska Permanent Fund,” which awards citizens money for permanently moving to Alaska. In return, Alaska will pay you a dividend to live in their community.

The Alaskan government created the fund to offset the high costs of living. Alaska is the largest state by land but one of the smallest population. Due to the low population and low amount of cities, jobs are limited. 

is it true they pay you to live in alaska

Additionally, if you live outside of a major city, you may have to rely on boats, snowmobiles, or planes for transportation, which can add to the cost of living. 

The Alaska Permanent Fund is handled by the Alaskan Department of Revenue and funded by Alaska’s oil companies. The royalties from the success of oil companies are then divided up among citizens who applied and are eligible for the program. 

The program requires an application to be sent in, and you must be a legal resident of Alaska. 

Despite the residency qualification, there are other criteria involved to get paid. For example, you should not claim residency in any other state, have plans to live in Alaska permanently, and cannot have any convictions of crime or felonies on your personal record. 

You also need to have been an Alaskan resident during the previous calendar year.

Considering the criteria, nearly everyone who applies to the fund is accepted. The amount of money distributed to each household depends on how many people live there. On average, about $2,000 is distributed annually to each household resident. 

History of the Alaska Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund was introduced in 1982, but its inception dates back to 1974 when Alaskan oil companies received an astounding amount of royalties. In addition, the Trans Alaska Pipeline was nearing completion, which was sure to bring in even more revenue. 

The Alaskan government wanted to find a way to keep growing the state and preparing it for the future while simultaneously rewarding citizens with the money from oil company royalties. Much of it ended up going in the Permanent Fund, which helped the government on a day-to-day basis and gave a pay-out to citizens every year. 

Initially, the Alaska constitution didn’t allow this payout, so an amendment had to be made. In 1976 the issue was put on the ballot where it won by a landslide, resulting in the Alaska Permanent Fund program being included in the state constitution. 

A few years later, in 1982, the first payment of $1,000 was rewarded to Alaskan citizens. To keep up with the price of living and inflation, that price has risen over the years. In 2018, the check payout reached $1,600 per person.

  • If you have been lucky enough to receive the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend each year since inception, you would have received over $45,000 in total.

This should be reason enough to move. There are plenty of places where to get free newspapers for packing to help lower your move costs.

2. Remain a Permanent Resident of Alaska

As stated before, the criteria for applying to the Alaska Permanent Fund requires you to have no plan of relocating out of Alaska. This encourages people to stay in the state and discourage them from taking advantage of government assistance.  

Luckily, staying in Alaska long-term has some fantastic benefits. First and foremost, you’re eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund payout, which has neared almost $2,000 in the past few years.

Additionally, Alaska has some of the most breathtaking mountains, oceans, and wildlife views. If you’re a hiker or outdoors enthusiast, Alaska is a great place to settle down.

Staying a resident can also be viable financially when you consider the payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund, the lack of sales tax, and low-cost real estate in some of the more populated areas. 

If you want to live off the grid or far away from neighbors, Alaska can help you accomplish that as well. 

The Alaska Permanent Fund aims to compensate and reward residents of the state and help Alaska grow economically. If it were to be given to part-time residents or people who plan on relocating, it would mean the money would be likely to be spent outside of Alaskan borders. 

Consequently, the Alaskan economy would not be boosted. 

3. Apply For a Housing Grant

Property is widely available in Alaska, but finding affordable housing near your workplace can be challenging without any assistance. To help residents and land developers create sustainable housing and reduce rent prices, the Alaskan government and many housing corporations offer a wide range of grants for homeowners and renters. 

Not all people in Alaska are eligible for a housing grant, but if you are, it can be an indispensable resource that will help you make a move to the final frontier. 

Alaska offers housing grants to minorities, veterans, seniors, and people who run at-home businesses. So, if you work from home or are a veteran, you might be able to find a way to fund your move with a housing grant. 

Housing grants are only available for residents, which usually means that you’ll have to make it through your first year of living in Alaska before you can apply for a grant. 

alaska pays you to live there

That means renting for about a year before closing on a home for most people. However, there are also grants available to help you renovate your home. If you have found the right property for you, move in. Then you can apply for renovation grants later, which can be a real money-saver. You can use moving hacks to save money on your move.

Grants are also available for low-income residents in the state of Alaska, and they will even pay you more money to live in an eco-friendly home. There are also specific grants for home upgrades, such as weatherization or energy-related improvements, that can increase your home’s value and decrease repair and energy costs. 

So, essentially, there are several grants available to help people make ends meet in Alaska since properties can be more expensive. Before updating a home or buying one, be sure to check and see if you qualify for any grants. 

Applying for any of them is free, so you have nothing to lose. 

For more information on the city-specific organizations that can help you find housing assistance, check out the HUD site for Alaska

4. Get a Job in Alaska

Simply put, the best way to incentivize yourself to move to another state is to apply for jobs there. In turn, you’ll technically be getting paid to live in Alaska, especially if the job requires in-person work. 

You can apply to many jobs in Alaska, just like any other state. However, there are also unique jobs that are exclusive just to Alaska. 

If your experience is in customer service or corporate work, like any other state, there are definitely office jobs and positions available to you. Cities like Juneau and Anchorage are similar to other cities in the United States. They have companies, restaurants, and places that overall need workers. 

As we know, Alaska’s geography is different from any other state in the US, which paves the way for many unique jobs. 

For example, this job for an Industrial Arts and Shop teacher offers a $2,000 bonus for relocation to Alaska. Many jobs give bonuses like this because it incentivizes people to relocate to a place where they may not have many family and friends. 

Outdoor Jobs

Alaska is well known for its commercial fishing and crabbing industry. Shows like Deadliest Catch highlight the importance and danger of jobs. If you’re qualified in the commercial fishery or similar jobs, you could make a lot of money in Alaska. 

does alaska pay you to live there

The average pay for a middle-ground crab fisherman in Alaska is about $142,000 per year. 

The life involves extended periods of time on the boat in dangerous climates, but many people love the thrill of the job as well as the payout. The top crabbers in the state make over $300,000 a year on average.

If fishing isn’t your thing, but you enjoy the great outdoors, a job such as an Environmental Protection Specialist may be the right fit for you. Alaska’s natural landscape is insanely beautiful, and with the growing population and tourist industry in Alaska, it needs to be kept safe as well. 

Medical Jobs

Alaska is always in need of medical personnel as well. If you’re a doctor, nurse, or PA, you can easily find well-paid work in Alaska. If you’re interested in living further away from the cities, small hospitals and doctors officers are willing to pay a lot of money for your work. 

To keep up with the state’s growing population, Alaska will need about 230 additional doctors by the year 2030, according to research from the Robert Graham Center. 

The National average of a doctor to patient ratio in the United States is one doctor to every 46 patients. In Alaska, this is significantly less since much of the population lives far away from the cities and dramatically separated from even their closest neighbors. 

These small towns need doctors and medical professionals most of all.

If you’re uncertain about the move, a great option would be to go to Alaska to work temporarily. During your final years of medical school, there are countless positions open for doing rotations at Alaska hospitals or doctor’s offices. There are several ways to save money moving across the country so it can be done cheaply.

If you like it, you can likely continue to do your residency years there after graduation.

Overall, working in a state is the simplest way to get paid to live there, especially if you’re doing a job specific to unique industries in Alaska. If you’re thinking about relocating, check out job listings in that area.

5. Apply to an Outdoors Exploration Program

If you enjoy exploring the outdoors, then the company WhistleOut has an opportunity for you. WhistleOut is beginning a program that pays you for exploring the natural scenery in your area. They call their workers “Chief Adventure Officers.”

Chief Adventure Officers get paid up to $1,000 to explore and photograph their local, national parks and natural wonders. For this job, you don’t need to be a professional photographer, but you should definitely have outdoor experience. 

WhistleOut is a technology company that provides cell phones, internet, tablets, and more. The Chief Adventure Officer program was started in Spring 2021 as a way to promote the cameras on their smartphones. 

Applicants who are chosen for the program are provided a free smartphone for up to $1,000 and $500 for travel expenses. The winning applicant will receive an additional $1,000 on top of the free phone and travel allowance.

The job description is simple. You need to explore your local outdoors with your smartphone and share the photos on social media.

how much do you get paid to live in Alaska

This program is ideal for someone who may want to get paid to live or visit Alaska but isn’t looking to be there long term. You can spend months or even weeks there as part of this program and still be paid for the experience.

This year’s program has already closed its applications but keep an eye out for next year’s.

6. Start a Small Business

You can apply for multiple grants if you’re interested in starting a small business in Alaska. Small businesses have grown in popularity all over the world, and Alaska wants a hand in helping people support locally-owned shops. 

One of the grants is funded by the Alaska Small Business Development Center. They’ll pay between $3,000 and $10,000 to those with an idea for a small business or a kickstart. This seed money could go a long way in making your small business dreams come true.

The Alaska Small Business Development Center aims to give one-on-one coaching for starting a small business. 

They’ve been in the field of helping small business owners for over 35 years and have fueled many success stories. Their grant program could make a big difference in the success of your business idea. 

Another grant you can apply to in order to start your small business in Alaska is the Amber Grant for Women. In accordance with the title of the grant, the program is only geared towards women who have an idea for a small business. 

The Amber Grant for Women was started in 1998 by WomensNet in order to encourage more women to start small businesses of their own. If accepted to the program, you’ll receive $4,000 for your start-up costs and the possibility to receive an additional $25,000 at the end of the year. 

Applications are accepted throughout the year, so if you’re a woman interested in starting a small business in Alaska, you should apply now.

Overall, Alaska can be an ideal place to start your small business. There are multiple funding options available and a market that’s looking for new ideas. 

If considering moving your business to Alaska, then get started by researching the local market. There are many places where to get free wooden crates for moving, which will help you pack up your business on the cheap.

How Often Do You Receive The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend?

The typical payment frequency is annual in October. The amount varies due to the state’s oil royalties. It’s formula-based, and you must register as an Alaskan resident each year between January 1st and March 30th to receive the annual dividend and qualify. Some get the free money for a lifetime; others get it until they move out of the state. It’s meant to be an incentive to get Alaskans to stay in Alaska.

alaska permanent fund dividend

How Much Cash Do You Receive From The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend?

The amount of the dividend varies. In 2021, the Alaska Permanent Fund was $1,114. In 2015, it was $900 per person, totaling about $6 billion for 740,000 Alaskans. In 2013, the amount was $878 per person. It has ranged from $859 in 1984 to over $2,000 in 2008.

The dividend amount varies slightly based on the state’s annual oil revenue. In 2019, the dividend was $1,606; in 2020, it was $992. Since its inception, the highest annual dividend paid has been $2,069 in 2008, while the lowest was $331.29 in 1983.

Dividend YearDividend Amount
2021$1,114.00
2020$992.00
2019$1,606.00
2018$1,600.00
2017$1,100.00
2016$1,022.00
2015$2,072.00
2014$1,884.00
2013$900.00
2012$878.00
2011$1,174.00
2010$1,281.00
2009$1.305.00
2008$2,069.00
2007$1,654.00
2006$1,106.96
2005$845.76
2004$919.84
2003$1,107.56
2002$1,540.76
2001$1,850.28
2000$1,963.86
1999$1,769.84
1998$1,540.88
1997$1,296.54
1996$1,130.68
1995$990.30
1994$983.90
1993$949.46
1992$915.84
1991$931.34
1990$952.63
1989$873.16
1988$826.93
1987$708.19
1986$556.26
1985$404.00
1984$331.29
1983$386.15
1982$1,000.00
Total$45,541.41
Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Source:
Alaska Department of Treasury



Can I Get the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend If I Don’t Live In Alaska?

No, you must reside in Alaska to receive the dividend as there are residency restrictions. You are required to file a residency status each year with the Alaska Department of Revenue.

Can I Use The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend For Student Loan Payments?

Yes. The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division has set up an education payment program that allows dividend money to be used for federal or state student loans. Simply get a letter from your student loan servicer and present it to the division. This is a huge financial incentive for new college graduates to become new residents of Alaska.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed ways to get paid to live in Alaska, such as: 

  • Moving to Alaska and utilizing the Alaska Permanent Fund.
  • Staying in Alaska in order to remain part of this fund.
  • Applying for a housing grant.
  • Getting a job in the state.
  • Applying for an outdoors program such as WhistleOut’s Chief Adventure Officer program.
  • Starting a small business with a small business grant option.

There are various ways to get paid to live in Alaska. If you’re searching for adventure, moving to Alaska and taking advantage of these options is a great idea for you!

BG Vance

For over 20 years, BG Vance has been a leader in public and personal financial management. He's developed and managed public budgets in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. He is passionate about the FIRE movement and was featured in the Detroit News in 2001 about saving for retirement. Through the years, he's assisted families and individuals with getting their finances on track. He holds an MPA, is a licensed Realtor, and is currently working on a book about personal finance.

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