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3.6 percent increase in Social Security benefits in 2012

According to a recent announcement from the Social Security Administration, Americans in 2012 will see a 3.6 percent increase in monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits. The increase in benefits is estimated to affect more than 60 million Americans who receive such payments.

The 3.6 percent increase is a cost-of-living adjustment that will go into effect for 55 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2012. For more than 8 million Social Security Insurance beneficiaries, adjusted payments went into effect today, Dec. 30.

As Augusta readers may know, in January of each year, a cost-of-living adjustment is made to Social Security benefits. The adjustment is based on the increase in average wages across the nation.

According to the average wage increase in 2011, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will go up from $106,800 to $110,100. The Social Security Administration indicated that, of the 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will end up paying higher taxes as a result of the increased taxable maximum.

Many Americans with disabilities rely heavily on Supplemental Security Income and Social Security disability payments to make ends meet. Eligibility for such payments is determined by a valuation of assets. Indeed, the eligibility guidelines can be complicated for potential recipients. Georgia and South Carolina residents who are concerned about receiving SSI or SSD benefits would be wise to consult with a professional who is familiar with the application process. Doing so can help ensure that individuals receive the maximum benefits possible.

Source: Pocono Record, "Social Security benefits to rise 3.6 percent," Dec. 29, 2011

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