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WASHINGTON (AP) – Millions of Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get only tiny increases in benefits next year, the fifth year in a row that older Americans will have to settle for historically low raises.

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There was no increase this year.

Next year’s benefit hike will be small because inflation is low, driven in part by lower fuel prices.

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The federal government is scheduled to announce the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, Tuesday morning. By law, the COLA is based on a government measure of consumer prices.

Analyses by experts and The Associated Press suggest a COLA of less than 1 percent.

The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. That adds up to a monthly increase of maybe $3 or $4 a month.

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