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The Social Security Administration recently announced a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 3.6% for Social Security beneficiaries. The COLA affects several different numbers in the Social Security ecosystem.

The monthly maximum SSI amount will be $698 in 2012. For a married couple on SSI, the "couples rate" will be $1,048.

The monthly amount for substantial gainful activity for employees will also increase in 2012, to $1,010.

The amount that must be earned for a quarter of coverage for disability will be $1,130.

For those receiving disability benefits and testing their ability to work, the monthly earnings amount that triggers a trial work period remains at $720.