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Social Security checks are going up $63 a month for the typical retiree — the largest increase in more than a quarter century but likely to seem puny to the millions who have been watching in horror as Wall Street lays waste to their retirement nest eggs.

Every little bit helps, but the boost is coming after a year when people living on fixed incomes have been pounded by surging energy prices and higher food costs — and lately have been seen their lifetime savings shrivel along with the stock market.

The yearly adjustment in Social Security checks is linked to government inflation figures, but advocacy groups for seniors say it's far short of what the typical retiree needs to keep up with rising living costs.

The Senior Citizens League said it did a study that indicated people 65 and over have lost 51 percent of their buying power since 2000, with the price of home heating oil and gasoline more than doubling since the beginning of the decade and such food staples as eggs and potatoes showing big increases as well.


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