Social Security Checks Grow, Seniors Still Hurting

Social Security checks are going up $63 a month for the typical retiree, the largest increase in more than a quarter century but likely to seem puny to the millions who are living on fixed incomes and  hurting due to surging energy prices and higher food costs.  On top of that, many people have seen their lifetime savings shrivel along with the stock market.

The yearly adjustment in Social Security checks is linked to government inflation figures, but advocacy groups for seniors say it’s far short of what the typical retiree needs to keep up with rising living costs.  Below are a few stories from around the web that gives you more information about the increase.

  • Among all retired workers, average monthly Social Security benefits will rise to $1,153 from $1,090, an increase of $63. Read details about changes.
  • The hefty adjustment will be good news for retirees who have been hit hard by the recent financial turmoil. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that plummeting assets may have wiped out about $2 trillion from pensions over the past year and a half. Read CBO Director’s Blog.
  • The adjustment in payments is meant to help beneficiaries keep up with rising cost of living, and is based on data from the consumer price index released by the Labor Department Thursday. See full story.
  • The rate hike will raise benefits for the more than 55 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. See Robert Powell for more on the cost of living formula.
  • A year ago the cost of living adjustment was 2.3%.
  • For the more than 50 million Social Security beneficiaries, the adjustment begins with benefits received in January. Higher payments to the more than 7 million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries begin Dec. 31.
  • The government also said Thursday that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $106,800 in 2009 from $102,000 this year. About 11 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase.

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