Social Security benefits jump to largest increase in 25 years

(WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans receiving Social Security are about to see the biggest increase in their benefits in a quarter century.

The new cost-of-living increase will be announced later today by the Social Security Administration.

It is expected to be above 5.5 percent.

That makes it the largest increase since a 7.4 percent jump in 1982.

A 5.5 percent increase means about $60 more a month for the average retiree.

Even with the gain, the fatter Social Security check still may seem puny to millions of retirees battered this year by huge increases in energy and food costs.

They've also watched their retirement savings being assaulted by the biggest upheavals on Wall Street in seven decades.

In one break for most retirees, the cost-of-living increase will not be eaten up by higher monthly premiums for Medicare which will stay the same.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)