By Eva Khadjinova
Alaska Legal Services 

Do you receive Senior Benefits? Have you applied?


March 1, 2023 | View PDF

Many Alaskans age 65 and older who are eligible to receive Senior Benefits from the state, do not. In part, it is because they have never heard of this benefit and, in part, some are under the impression that this benefit has long been eliminated. There is also another group of seniors who know about the benefit, have been receiving it for years, but since the reapplication process, have not received it. This article is to address seniors in all of these categories.

What is Senior Benefits and how to apply

The State of Alaska Senior Benefits program was created in 2003 to address the needs of low-income senior Alaskans, due to the elimination of the state’s Longevity Bonus, which was originally created to honor Alaska pioneers. The program has changed over these 20 years, but in its current version, seniors receive a varying level of monthly cash payments, depending on their income. Unlike other public benefit programs, seniors’ assets are not considered. Thus, many seniors who own valuable property may be eligible to receive these monthly payments if their income is under the set limits.

Also notable is that the income limit for Senior Benefits is higher than for most public benefits, and it is adjusted annually in April. Until April of 2023, if your individual gross monthly income is under $2,478 per month or $29,733 annually, you are eligible for the benefit. For couples, the 2022 limit was set at $3,339 per month or $40,058 annually.

There are other eligibility requirements, such as Alaska residency, U.S. citizenship, qualified alien status, or Native American born in Canada or Mexico who has treaty rights to cross the border. Seniors who stay in a long-term care facility, psychiatric facility, Alaska Pioneers’ Home, or the Alaska Veterans’ Home longer than 90 days become ineligible for the benefit.

If you are 65 or older, you can apply for the benefit at any time. You can find the application at

‘I applied months ago, but I am not receiving the benefit’

The State of Alaska Division of Public Assistance (DPA) is required to act upon your application for Senior Benefits within 30 days of receiving it. Alaska Legal Services Corp. has become aware that many seniors are currently experiencing an undue delay in getting their benefits: some have not received it even though they applied five months ago. Any person who has applied but received no response from the DPA within 30 days of the application submission, may request a fair hearing. Similarly, any person who received an adverse response from the DPA, and a denial of the benefit would be such response, may appeal that decision by asking for the fair hearing as well.

Fair hearing requests from adverse actions are time-sensitive, so it is advisable to request a fair hearing as soon as you receive notice of the adverse action. If it has been over thirty days since you applied, and you have not received benefits, but also did not get a written notice denying your benefit, you should consider requesting a fair hearing. It is very easy to request a fair hearing, and requesting it will often expedite a decision about your benefit without necessarily having to go through the hearing.

You have to request a fair hearing in writing, but there is no mandatory form for that. For convenience, fair hearing request forms are available at your local DPA office. However, a simple writing stating your name, date of birth, which benefits you applied for, and the date you applied for them, will do. You should state that you request a fair hearing on denial or agency non-action – whatever applies in your case. You should also date and sign the writing.

There are various ways of submitting your fair hearing request, including by email:; dropping off or handing to the clerk at the DPA office; faxing it to 1-888-269-6520. Whatever method you choose, you should keep a confirmation of your submission.

Once the request is received by the DPA, the agency has 10 days to refer the matter to the administrative law judge or provide a notice of non-referral stating the reason for non-referral. If you get no response within 10 days or receive a notice stating why your request was not referred to a judge (called a “notice of non-referral”), we encourage you to apply with Alaska Legal Services Corp. as soon as possible. ALSC also encourages you to apply for our services if you are unable to request the fair hearing on your own. ALSC provides free legal services on this issue and many others to all who qualify.

In such difficult economic times, no eligible senior should be denied Senior Benefits because of an agency’s inaction. Please call 888-478-2572 to apply for our services.

Eva Khadjinova is a Senior Services Attorney for Alaska Legal Services Corporation.


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