WASHINGTON – Thanks to a bump in the cost of living adjustment, Social Security monthly checks will soon see a 4.1% increase, the largest hike in more than a decade. Starting in 2006, more than 48 million Americans will get a 4.1% increase in their monthly Social Security checks. The average benefit will rise by $39 to $1,002. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Oct. 14 that the cost of living adjustment or COLA will see its biggest increase since 1991 – 5.4%. More than 52 million people and more than 48 million Social Security recipients will see COLA. The SSA also said 11.3 million workers will have to pay higher taxes next year because the maximum amount of Social Security earnings subject to the payroll tax will rise to $94,200 next year from the current $90,000. The adjusted COLA is based on the consumer-price index, which is determined by the amount prices have risen from July to September, compared to the same period in

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