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Social-security increase smaller this year

Social-security benefits will rise again -- but not by much. Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, international management consultants, predict benefits will increase 8.5 percent in June 1982. This is the smallest increase since 1978 when benefits increased 6.5 percent. Social security went up 11.2 percent last year, 14.3 percent in 1980, and 9.9 percent in 1979.

Although individual social-security payments vary considerably, the average monthly benefit for a retired worker is expected to increase to $406 from $374. For someone first retiring at age 65 in June the monthly maximum primary benefit will probably be $736, up from $679, the consulting group says. An 8.5 percent jump in benefits would increase the total social-security payout to almost 36 million beneficiaries by $12.4 billion annually, up to $157 billion.

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The higher benefits are mandated under the Social Security Act. The law requires automatic annual increases in benefit payments if the Consumer Price Index is at least 3 percent higher in the first quarter of the year than it was at that time in the previous year.

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