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POSTED: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 5:49pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 10:38am

A long awaited cost of living increase has been announced for Social Security recipients.
But some Medicare increases may take a bite.
55-million Americans receive Social Security checks, and for the first time in 2 years, those checks will be a bit bigger.
The Social Security administration has announced the first cost of living increase in benefits since 2009.
“It’s a 3.6% raise, so if you get $1000 you’ll get a $36 raise, and if you get $500 a month, you’ll get $13 more per month,” says Leo Rosser, District Manager for Social Security in Tyler. “Social Security recipients will see it beginning January the 3rd, or on the second Wednesday of the month, depending on when they get their checks.”
Blame the recession and the Federal Reserve. A loose money policy has kept inflation at bay for the last few years, and no inflation means, no cost of living increase.
AARP reports that of the 55-million receiving checks, more than 19-million seniors, one million of them in Texas, rely on Social Security for over half their income.
“Social Security by law, has never contributed a penny to the federal deficit,” says Eric Kingson, who was Alan Greenspan’s assistant on the original Social Security reform commission under Ronald Reagan.
“There’s lots of evidence that tells us the way we calculate the cost of living changes for seniors today, understates the impact of inflation,” Kingson says. “Because the way we calculate it doesn’t give the proper weight to the impact of health care costs on the household incomes of seniors.”
But Medicare part B premiums are going up as well. That’s the part that covers doctor’s fees, and outpatient services.
And they come out of, you guessed it, your social security check.
“If you’re over 65, the Medicare premium will go up,” Rosser said. “We’ve not been told how much that is at this point. And obviously, if your raise is not enough to cover your premiums, then your check will not be reduced.”
Roughly one fifth of the 209,000 people in Smith County are on Social Security. That roughly approximates the national percentage.

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The measure, which was adopted in the 1970s, produced no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low. http://bit.ly/rmyCnh

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