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COLA Increased for the First Time since 2009



The Social Security Administration announced a 3.6 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) today. This adjustment, the first cost-of-living increase since 2009, is set to begin in January 2012. Since 1975, Social Security's general benefit increases have been based on increases in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The latest COLA will have an affect on Social Security retirement benefits. The COLA will also have an affect on those receiving Supplement Security Income (SSI)  benefits, as payment levels will also increase by 3.6 percent effective for payments made for January 2012. Because the normal SSI payment date is the first of the month and January 1 is a holiday, the SSI payments for January are always made at the end of the previous December.

The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2012 are $698 for an eligible individual, $1,048 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $350 for an essential person. The chart below (via the SSA) provided a detailed looked at the increase in SSI amounts.


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