Social Security Benefits Going Up by 5.8%

Social Security benefits for 50 million people will go up 5.8% next year, the largest increase in more than a quarter century. The increase, which will start in January, was announced October 16, 2008 by the Social Security Administration.

It’s the largest increase since a 7.4% jump in 1982 and is more than double the 2.3% rise that people getting Social Security got in their monthly checks this year.

The 5.8% rise in the cost of living adjustment is a sharp departure from recent years. The COLA increases have been below 3 percent for all but three of the past 15 years.

The biggest cost of living benefit on record was a 14.3% increase in 1980. Social Security benefits have been adjusted every year since 1975.

In more good news, the cost of living increase will not be eaten up by higher monthly premiums for the part of Medicare that pays for physician services. Because of gains in the Medicare Part B trust fund, that premium will hold steady at $96.40 a month, although higher-income people including couples making more than $170,000 annually will see their premiums increase.

The average retired couple, both getting Social Security benefits, will see their monthly check go up by $103 a month to $1,876.

The standard Supplemental Security Income payment for a couple will go from $956 per month to $1,011. The SSI payment for an individual will go from $637 per month to $674 per month.

The average monthly check for a disabled worker will go from $1,006 to $1,064.