For the first time in two years, Social Security recipients will be receiving a 3.6 COLA percent raise in 2012 — though it’s likely to be eaten up by a comparable hike in Medicare Part B premiums, which cover common medical expenses such as doctor visits, outpatient care, and home health services.

The COLA raise is certainly good news for retirees, who have seen substantial increases in cost of living in recent years. The consumer price index, which measures the cost of food, transportation, and other living essentials, has risen significantly this year. But the Social Security Administration openly conceded the raise may not amount to any extra cashflow.

“For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums,” the SSA said in thier announcement this morning. More specifics on these premium raises will be released in the next few weeks, experts say.

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