Social Security raise good news in bleak times

Gloria Nye  |  1/9/2009 8:48:43 PM

News You Can Use Distributed 01/09/09

Social Security recipients may be one of the few groups with happy news during the recession. They started their New Year with their largest raise since 1982, a 5.8 percent increase. This cost of living adjustment (COLA) affects some 50 million Americans.

“An added piece of good news is that Medicare has announced that the Part B premium for doctor and outpatient services will not go up in 2009,” said LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Gloria Nye.

In dollar terms, the raise means the average Social Security check for individuals, which was $1,090 in 2008, has increased about $63 to $1,153 this year. Couples can expect their combined benefits to be $1,876, from an average of $1,773.

The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly payment for individuals rose from $637 to $674 a month, and payments for couples rose from $956 to $1,011. The disabled worker’s benefit increased from $1,006 to $1,064 per month.

“This is first time since 2000 that the Medicare Part B premium has not increased,” Nye said. It will remain at the 2008 level of $96.40 per month.

For the 5 percent of seniors on Medicare who have incomes of $85,000 or more, their Medicare premiums will be increased based on their income level. The Part B deductible will remain at $135 in 2009, but the Part A annual deductible goes up $44, to $1,068, for hospital stays of up to 60 days.

For more information on the Social Security COLA increases, go to www.socialsecurity.gov or call 800-772-1213. For more information about Medicare go to www.cms.hhs.gov or call 800-633-4227.

For related family economics and consumer topics, go to the LSU AgCenter home page at www.lsuagcenter.com and click on the Family and Home link. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.

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Contact: Gloria Nye, at (337) 948-0561 or gnye@agcenter.lsu.edu 
Editor: Mark Claesgens, at (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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