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Social Security checks going up by 5.9 percent, the highest increase in decades

WASHINGTON – The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that recipients will receive a 6 percent increase in benefits next year.

The increase in benefits, which will affect nearly 70 million people, is boosted by rising inflation caused by supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and other economic disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic.

Larger checks will begin arriving for most recipients in January.

At the end of December, about 8 million beneficiaries of the Social Security Supplemental Security Income Program, intended for people who are disabled or have little income, will start receiving increased payments.

Rising inflation contributed to the Social Security Administration’s report that the cost of living increase, or COLA, would be 5.9 percent for 2022. Data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed prices rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in September. Inflation rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in September from August.

“Some other adjustments that take effect in January each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on this increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax (the maximum taxable amount) will increase to $147,000 from 142 $800, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday.

The government said that beneficiaries will receive notice in December of increasing their payments.

Typically, the COLA increase was 1 to 2 percent each year. However, at the height of the Great Recession, in 2009, benefits rose by 5.8 percent for 50 million people, which at the time was the largest increase in more than a century.

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