The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that about 55 million Social Security recipients will see a 3.6 percent cost-of-living increase in benefits next year, the first since 2009. However, that raise may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.
Starting in January 2012, Social Security recipients will get increases averaging $39 a month, which comes to about $467 for the year, the Social Security Administration said.
For some recipients, higher Medicare Part B premiums could carve out as much as a quarter of their raise. The premiums cover doctor visits and are deducted automatically from Social Security payments. In May, the Medicare trustees reported they expected the Part B premium to be $106.60 a month in 2012, a number that could change when the actual premium is set. At that rate, about a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries would see their premiums go down while the rest would pay $10.20 more each month. Medicare is expected to announce Part B premiums as early as next week.
In a recent report, the Social Security Administration highlighted the value Social Security serves in the African-American community. In 2009, among African-Americans receiving Social Security, 29 percent of elderly married couples and 56 percent of unmarried elderly persons relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income, according to the report.