The federal government spent $5,953.71 per resident in Virginia in 1988, moving the commonwealth past Alaska to claim the top ranking in per capita receipt of federal dollars.

Alaska slipped to third, with federal spending totaling $5,193.29 per resident, according to a report released Thursday entitled "Federal Expenditures by State for Fiscal Year 1988."The government spent $3,400.39 per resident in Utah.

Second in 1988 was New Mexico with federal spending of $5,751.54, moving it up from fourth a year earlier.

Maryland, third in 1987, fell to fourth with per capita spending of $5,113 last year, the study found.

Only those four states managed to receive federal spending of $5,000 or more per capita, largely a result of military bases or location near Washington.

Virginia topped the list with its major naval and Marine bases and numerous government operations in suburbs of Washington. The nation's capital itself - not ranked among the states - recorded per capita spending totaling $24,607.95 in fiscal 1988.

At the other end of the scale was Michigan, ranking last with per capita federal spending of $2,543.17. A year earlier Michigan had been in 49th spot, but for 1988 it slipped to last as Wisconsin moved up two places.

Nationally, the federal government spent an average of $3,545.13 per person last year, with spending above average in 18 states and the District of Columbia and below average in the remainder.

Overall the federal government spent $409 billion in individual benefits for Americans last year.