For the first time in two years, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, recipients will see a 3.6 percent boost in monthly benefits in 2012.

The higher payments come courtesy of the automatic cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, that’s triggered by law for all Social Security benefits anytime inflation rises.

More than 8 million SSI recipients will begin receiving the higher payments starting Dec. 30, the Social Security Administration said Wednesday.

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For an individual receiving SSI, the maximum federal benefit will increase from $674 per month to $698. Similarly, payments to couples on SSI will rise from $1,011 to $1,048 monthly.

This is the first time since 2009 that Social Security recipients will see an automatic increase in payments. That’s because for the past two years, inflation dropped or remained stagnant and there was no COLA.

Since COLA took effect in 1975, 2010 and 2011 were the only years that an automatic increase in Social Security benefits did not occur.