The Social Security Administration announced that starting on December 30, 2011, social security recipients will receive a 3.6 percent increase in benefits. Increases in social security benefits are based on a cost of living adjustment (COLA). For the first time since the automatic COLA adjustment was put in place (1975), there were no increases in benefits for 2010 and 2011.
The average monthly social security check is $1,082.00. With the 2012 adjustment, that will mean an additional $39.00 per month. The largest increase was in 1981 when benefit checks increased 11.2 percent.
Social Security Administration: How COLA is Calculated
Social Security Administration: Chart of COLA Increases from 1975-2012