By Louis J. Vigorita
Something good has happened in Social Security. Next year, Social Security recipients will see the first raise in their checks since 2009 due to accelerated inflation this year. A subset of the consumer price index –the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or the CPI-W – rose by 3.6 percent in the third quarter from the same period in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s the first time the benchmark has risen in three years. That’s significant because that figure is normally used to calculate changes in Social Security checks. The 3.6 percent raise is lower than the increase of 5.8 percent recipients received in 2009, but higher than the average of 2.4 percent the past ten years. That is correct; it is higher than 2.4 percent, which was the average over the last ten years. The inflation figure will also increase the amount of income that is subject to Social Security taxes. Currently, taxpayers pay into Social Security on their first $106,800 of earnings. Next year, that figure will rise to around $110,000.
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