Social Security Benefits Will Increase For First Time Since 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2012. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011. This is the first cost-of-living adjustment since 2009.

“While so many New Jersey seniors are struggling to get by in this economy, this cost-of-living increase will help them afford food, medicine and other basic needs,” said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). “This increase will also boost consumer spending and pump more money into our economy. I am pleased with this benefit increase and will continue working to strengthen Social Security and make sure it remains strong for our children and grandchildren.”

According to the senator’s office, the average benefit will increase $500 a year for an estimated 1.47 million New Jersey Social Security recipients.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $110,100 from $106,800. Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2012, when announced, will be available at For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

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