According to The Dallas Morning News social security benefits will increase by 5.8% for 50 million Americans in 2009, the largest increase since 1982. What that means is that the average American retiree will receive an additional $63 in their monthly social security check.

But many retirees won’t feel the benefits of the social security increase because of the high inflation rates of energy and food and not to mention the falling values of many retirement accounts since the Wall Street crisis. Many senior citizens have watched their purchasing power decrease and their nest eggs shrink as Wall Street declines hit their pocketbooks. But fortunately many senior citizens won’t suffer under Medicare premiums this year because for those earning less than $170,000 annually the premium will remain at $96.40 a month at least through 2009.

Because many senior citizens are reeling from the housing crisis, devalued retirement accounts, increased costs of living and mounting debt, it is absolutely essential that seniors assess their financial situations. If you’re a senior teetering on the edge of financial disaster this may be to the time to consider restructuring debts in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy or discharging them in a Chapter 7 .