The Federal Government announced that Social Security recipients will get a 3.6% increase in benefits next year, the first increase since 2009. The increase applies to checks for 2012. Since 1975, benefits have been tied to inflation and almost always went up, but the recession of the last few years has left the inflation index lower or unchanged, so Social Security benefits were unchanged in 2010 and 2011, as well (they can’t go down). But, this doesn’t mean what you get will actually go up, there will be increases in Medicare costs as well. Speaking of which, the open enrollment period for Medicare plans is going on right now (it started and ends earlier this year than in previous years) so it’s time to review your plan and either stay with it, or pick a new one for next year.