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Senior Benefits in Alaska

Senior Benefits in Alaska

If you are an Alaskan senior (aged 65 or older), then you might be wondering what senior benefits are available to you to help cover your expenses. The State of Alaska offers cash payments to low and moderate income seniors who meet certain requirements and need help covering costs. Read on for more details about who is eligible for senior benefits in Alaska, the cash payment amount you might be entitled to, and how to submit an application for senior benefits.

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What senior benefits are available in Alaska?

The Division of Public Assistance in the State of Alaska offers cash payments to low and moderate income seniors aged 65 or older, who meet certain requirements. Payments in the amount of $76, $175, or $250 per month are available, depending on your income level. However, here are a couple of reasons why payment amounts may be lower than this. 

In 2016, the State of Alaska did not have enough money in the budget to cover the full amount of cash payments to seniors who were eligible. For fiscal year 2016, eligible seniors in the highest income bracket had their payments reduced to just $47 per month until the beginning of fiscal year 2017 (Alaska’s fiscal, or financial year, begins on August 1). As of 2022, seniors are receiving the full amount of their cash benefits, but this serves to illustrate that budget deficits can cause payments to be reduced at times. 

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Further, the official cash benefit amounts change each year depending on where the Alaska Federal Poverty Guideline is set.

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Who is eligible for senior benefits in Alaska?

Senior benefits in the form of cash payments are available to seniors who meet all of the following criteria:

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  • Are aged 65 or older
  • Are U.S. citizens or qualified aliens
  • Are Alaska residents
  • Have a Social Security Number or can show that they have applied for one
  • Have an income less than the set income limits for this senior benefits program

Senior benefits are not available to people who are living in prison or jail, Alaska Pioneers’ Homes, Alaska Veterans’ Homes, or in institutions that treat mental illness. 

There are three levels of income eligibility for senior benefits in Alaska:

To receive $250 per month in cash benefits, individuals must be earning $12,743 per year or less, and married couples must be earning $17,168 per year or less. 

To receive $175 per month in cash benefits, individuals must be earning $16,990 per year or less, and married couples must be earning $22,890 per year or less. 

To receive $76 per month in cash benefits, individuals must be earning $29,733 per year or less, and married couples must be earning $40,058 per year or less. 

It is important to note that the income considered in determining eligibility only includes “countable” gross income. The Division of Public Assistance only considers the money you receive from the following sources when determining eligibility for senior benefits: wages and other earnings, annuity payments, pension or retirement payments, disability benefits, veteran’s benefits, Social Security payments, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Adult Public Assistance, alimony, Native corporation payments, dividends from stocks or bonds work, and social security retirement benefits. 

The Division of Public Assistance does not consider other resources like savings accounts or property like your home when determining eligibility.

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A senior woman with short cropped gray hair wearing an orange sweater and looking into the camera in article on senior benefits in Alaska

How to apply for senior benefits in Alaska

To apply for senior benefits in Alaska, you can fill out this application and return it to the Alaska Division of Public Assistance by mail, fax, email, or by dropping it off at one of their locations. More information on where to send or bring your application is available on their contact us page

When you fill out the application, you will need to provide information on both yourself and your spouse, even if your spouse is under the age of 65. 

If after being approved to receive senior benefits your circumstances change in a way that would make you or your spouse ineligible for further cash payments, you are required to inform the State of Alaska. For example, if your spouse passes away, you and/or your spouse leave the State of Alaska for 30 days or more, or if you or your spouse is admitted to a nursing home or other facility, you are required to report this to the state, as these circumstances would affect your eligibility for senior benefits.

Senior benefits in Alaska are a great way to supplement your income and improve your quality of life if you are eligible. Visit the Division of Public Assistance website for more information. 

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.