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Social Security checks to rise 1.7% in 2013

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch –

WASHINGTON — People who get Social Security checks will receive a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefits next year, the government said last week.

The increase amounts to about $19 extra for the average Social Security recipient, who received roughly $1,130 each month in 2012.

The consumer price index (CPI-W), rose by 1.7 percent in the 12-month period running through September 2012, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Annual increases in Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment are tied to the CPI-W.

The Social Security Administration announced the official increase on Tuesday morning.

The higher level of benefits, meant to keep up with inflation and prevent seniors from falling behind, will kick in on Jan. 1.

Last year, Social Security recipients got a 3.6 percent increase amid spiking gasoline and food costs. Yet price pressures have tapered off in 2012, leading to a lower increase in the cost-of-living adjustment.

Seniors didn’t get any such increases in either 2010 and 2009.

The CPI-W index is also used as a baseline to determine certain wage increase in union contracts and other public benefits.

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