Retirees will be receiving a 3.6 percent increase in their monthly Social Security and Supplementary Security Income benefits in 2012.

The cost-of-living adjustment is the first since 2009 and was originally announced in October. It takes effect for nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries in January. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries began on December 30.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $110,100 from $106,800.

Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, approximately 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

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