Cantwell: 22,000 in San Juan and Island Counties to get social security increase in 2012

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the Social Security Administration’s announcement that Washington’s nearly 1.1 million Social Security recipients will get an average of $516 more per year in benefits. The 3.6 percent boost marks the first cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase since 2009.

Cantwell has been a long-time advocate for ensuring that Social Security benefits keep pace with inflation in the cost of essential items.

The increase will affect an estimated 22,000 Island and San Juan County residents – and 1,089,887 Washingtonians – who receive Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. For state data broken down by county, see this PDF.

"More than ever, Washington seniors need help making ends meet," said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. "This long-overdue boost means $500 more in the pockets of Washingtonians who face rising costs for groceries, medicine and utility bills. For generations, Social Security has served a cornerstone of retirement security for American workers. Social Security needs to keep pace with increases in essential items, so that Washington seniors don’t have to choose between paying their bills and buying needed medications."

In Washington state, one in seven residents receive Social Security. Social Security is the main source of family income (90 percent) for more than 21 percent of Washingtonians age 65 and older. In 2008, Social Security kept almost 36 percent of older Americans out of poverty. In Washington, roughly 30 percent of the state’s 65-and-older population was kept out of poverty because of Social Security, according to the AARP.