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Social Security Payments Will Not Automatically Increase In 2010

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Payments to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will not increase in 2010, marking the first time since 1975 that payments will not automatically rise, Social Security Administration officials said Thursday.

By law, Social Security benefits are required to automatically increase with inflation in what’s termed the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). But inflation decreased this year, so benefits will remain steady, making 2010 the first year since COLA was put into effect in 1975 that benefits will not rise.

Accordingly, the maximum monthly payment an individual on SSI can receive is $674, while couples can claim up to $1,011 monthly.

In anticipation of this announcement, President Barack Obama asked Congress on Wednesday to provide seniors and people with disabilities a one-time $250 economic recovery payment in 2010. If approved, these payments would mimic a similar one-time payment provided to recipients of Social Security, SSI and a handful of other government benefit programs earlier this year.

“Social Security is doing its job helping Americans maintain their standard of living,” Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said in a statement Thursday. “Last year when consumer prices spiked, largely as a result of higher gas prices, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent COLA, the largest increase since 1982. This year, in light of the human need, we need to support President Obama’s call for us to make another $250 recovery payment for 57 million Americans.”

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