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Social Security checks will increase

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

October 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Fifty million retirees across the nation and in south Georgia will see their largest cost of living increase in more than two decades next year.

Average retirees will earn another $750, thanks to the annual cost of living increase in Social Security Benefits.

Tough economic times are the reason for the 5.8 percent increase in benefits. With cost increases for energy, fuel, and groceries many retirees on a fixed income have been paying out more for the basic necessities.

 It's been years since Colleen Chappell retired from her job as the Radium Middle School lunch room manger, now she volunteers five days a week at the Albany Senior Center on Pine Avenue, but higher prices could cut her hours.

"The way everything is going up with the gas prices so high, it's hard to make ends meet," she said.

She's on a fixed income with her retirement and social security benefits and doesn't want money to dictate whether she continues to drive from Mitchell County to volunteer. "It keeps me young. It helps me as much as I help them."

News of an increase in social security benefits is welcome. "Since 1973, the Social Security Act has called for this economic protection to be in place so that the cost of living makes the check flow with the economy," said Charles Tennille, Social Security Administration District Manager.

To make up for tough times, retirees will see between $58 and $63 more in their checks starting in January, about $750 a year.

"So that's basically showing there's been a 5.8 percent need or increase in what the economic need would be for our beneficiaries," says Tennille.

For Colleen, it will fit the bill. "That would be wonderful, we can't be greedy we have to be thankful and I'm very well satisfied. It will help a lot."

Increases have been below three percent for all but three of the past 15 years.

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