Social Security Checks Get 3.6% Bump

Raise is first since 2009

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 18, 2011 2:04 PM CDT | Updated Oct 19, 2011 10:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – Social Security recipients will get something in January they used to get every year: a raise. The 3.6% boost, which is tied to the government's official inflation measure released today, will be the program's first cost-of-living adjustment since 2009. That's because inflation has been so low for the past two years that no raise was triggered. Before that, seniors had seen bumps every year since 1975. The AP reports that the average yearly increase will total $467.

Of course, while inflation was low, many seniors saw their retirement accounts hit by the financial crisis, so the bump is quite welcome, an AARP executive said. "People certainly feel like they are falling behind, and these are modest-income folks to begin with, so every dollar counts," he said. "I think sometimes people forget what seniors' incomes are." And even this latest bump comes with some bad news: Medicare premiums are on the rise, and will eat into some of the raise.

In this 2005 file photo, trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from a US Treasury facility in Philadelphia.
In this 2005 file photo, trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from a US Treasury facility in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)
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