The consumer price index for July increased 0.5 percent. It increased the CPI-W to 216.304. The increase over the prior year was 6.2 percent. Here’s the press release: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

In case you missed it, my Sunday August 1 column explained why senior citizens were likely to get the largest benefit increase in 25 years, estimating the boost at about 6 percent. That estimate was based on typical “core” inflation increases of 0.2 percent in July, August and September. Here’s a link to that column: http://assetbuilder.com/blogs/scott_burns/archive/2008/08/01/want-a-good-raise-retire.aspx

With this unexpectedly large increase for a single month, it’s now nearly certain that the January increase will be 6 percent or slightly more.

As many readers pointed out, some of this increase will be absorbed by an increase in the Medicare Part B premium. Historically, these premiums have increased at about twice the inflation rate. The current premium is $96.40 a month. The premium for next year has not been announced.