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Benefits Afforded by the Social Security to Increase

Oct. 21, 2006 (WA) An increase of about 3.3 percent in Social Security benefits is perceived next year. This equates to an increase of $33 per month for nearly 49 million retirees. The monthly benefit for a typical retiree is seen to rise to $1,044 from an average of $1,011. Additionally, the average retired couple, who are both receiving Social Security benefits, will see their monthly check rise from $1,658 to $1,713. The standard SSI payment will go from $603 to $623 per month for an individual, and from $904 to $934 for a couple. The average monthly check for a disabled worker will rise from $947 to $979. This rise is perceived to help recipients keep up with inflation.

      As a result, eleven million taxpayers will pay higher taxes next year because the maximum amount of Social Security earnings subject to the payroll tax will rise from $94,200 to $97,500. An estimated 163 million workers will pay Social Security taxes in 2007. 

      Since energy prices which initially leaped because of rising Middle East tensions have been falling since summer, the declines have resulted to a decrease of consumer prices  by an average of 5 percent. This fall in energy prices would help retirees deal with winter heating bills, which after a number of years is expected to be lower this winter.

      But for senior citizens enrolled in Medicare, nearly half that increase will be consumed by rising health insurance premiums. The increase will push the monthly premium for most Medicare recipients to $93.50, a rise of 5.6 percent. As a result, about 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, those making more than $80,000 annually, will pay an additional $12.50 to about $68.60 per month. Advocates for the elderly said that the cost of living adjustment was a critical safety net for the nearly one-third of retirees who rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.

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