Keeping Track

Americans on Social Security will see their checks grow by 2.4 percent in January, the biggest cost-of-living increase in three years.

The year 2000 increase, announced by the Social Security Administration last Tuesday, means the average monthly check for retirees will rise from $785 to $804.

The benefits boost will be nearly twice the size of this year's 1.3 percent raise, mainly because of a recent upward creep in consumer prices.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment was linked to the consumer price index in 1975. Payments of monthly benefits began in 1940, when slightly more than 200 thousand people received a total of $4.1 million. Today 44.2 million people take home some $31.7 billion.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.