One great thing about owning shares in a company that (at least occasionally) raises its dividend is that your passive income increases while you do nothing at all.

In that spirit, let's take a look at two longtime companies that have declared dividend raises in recent days, Altria Group (MO 1.06%) and General Motors (GM -0.38%), and see how much more they're remunerating their shareholders.

1. Altria Group

Altria is a longtime favorite of income investors who don't mind that the company's main stock-in-trade is cigarettes. That's because Altria has always spat out a high-yield dividend every quarter, which is maintained by regular (typically once per year) raises. The 2022 version of this is a 4% increase to $0.94 per share.

The production costs of Altria's traditional cigarette products are modest, and meanwhile, the company can charge high prices for them since they're addictive. The company's troubled e-cigarette brand Juul is a different story -- it could even be knocked entirely out of the product lineup if a recent hold placed on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ban doesn't lead to an outright reversal. Also, the continuing decline of the tobacco market is concerning.

In its most recently reported quarter, the company suffered a nearly 6% year-over-year fall in net revenue and a queasy tumble of almost 60% in net income. The rest of the year should be better as Altria is guiding for annual per-share earnings growth of 4% to 7% over 2021. It didn't provide any revenue guidance; collectively, analysts are expecting a gentle (1%) slide year over year.

Altria has historically been a fine dividend stock for those comfortable investing in sin stocks. The question is, can it continue to be a success in an industry that's now a shadow of its former self? So far, it's managed to weather the storm without serious erosion in its fundamentals; we'll see if it can continue to do so.

At the most recent closing share price, Altria's upcoming dividend would yield a mighty 8.4%. The first payout of the new amount will occur on Oct. 11, to investors of record as of Sept. 15.

2. General Motors

As Altria is to cigarettes, General Motors is to automobiles. Young upstarts like Tesla and Rivian might grab headlines with their electric vehicles (EVs), but the old incumbent automaker continues to fight hard and hang in there.

One way it's doing this is by making the ultimate dividend raise: reinstating its payout. From exactly $0.00 in the previous quarter -- General Motors last paid a distribution in March 2020 -- the company is shifting to a quarterly dividend of $0.09 per share. On top of that, it aims to put a little zoom in its stock by refreshing its share repurchase program; the $3.3 billion remaining under authorization has been raised to $5 billion. 

In announcing the return of the dividend and the boost in the buyback, General Motors said the assertive expansion of its EV offerings and efforts in modular battery manufacturing have left room for such investor-pleasing measures. CEO Mary Barra said, "Progress on these key strategic initiatives has improved our visibility and strengthened confidence in our capacity to fund growth while also returning capital to shareholders."

While the usual we're-always-winning corporate hype underlies these words, they are generally accurate. General Motors is well-positioned these days to compete in the brave new world of EVs -- although as a mass-market producer with a wide assortment of customers, it'll probably never have the verve and cachet of Tesla and its designer EV peers. It's well on the way in that segment, having developed a single manufacturing platform (Ultium) that should give it the scope to make a wide range of EVs targeting numerous consumer segments.

General Motors' reinstated dividend will be paid on Sept. 15 to investors of record as of Aug. 31, and it yields 0.9% at the current stock price.