The good news is, Social Security checks are about to get bigger. The bad news is, their impending growth is already spoken for. The 8.7% increase that will start this month only reflects the same degree of growth in the nation's cost of living. On a net basis, Social Security recipients won't be any better off. 

Fortunately there's a solution. Rising inflation -- and the rising interest rates meant to curb that inflation -- have pumped up dividend yields of many stocks. Here's a closer look at three of the best of these names to help supplement your Social Security income in 2023.


Contrary to popular belief, International Business Machines (IBM -1.54%) isn't a has-been. It just needed some time to evolve into something much more relevant than mainframes and PC hardware. Mission accomplished. The new-and-improved IBM of today is hyper-focused on areas like hybrid cloud computing, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. It also supports these offerings with a consulting business, generating long-term recurring revenue.

And that's the key to its reliability as a dividend-paying stock. As CFO Jim Kavanaugh explained at Bank of America's 2022 Global Technology Conference, "when we land a hybrid cloud platform [customer], there's an economic multiplier on top of that, $3 to $5 a software for every dollar of platform we land, $6 to $8 of services for every dollar of platform we land."

To this end, IBM is defying the economic headwind undermining so many other companies this past year. Its top line through the first three quarters of 2022 is up nearly 8% versus last year's figures, staying strong through the third quarter. Gross profits and cash flow are faring about as well. That's why the company's been able to not just continue paying a quarterly dividend for over a century despite recent challenges, but raise its annual dividend every year for the past 27 years.

Even more amazing is that this stock has mustered a 7% gain in 2022 while the S&P 500 lost on the order of 20%. It's a testament to investors' quest for safety and certainty, as well as an indication in their belief that IBM offers it. Don't be surprised to see this stock continue to outperform the broad market as long as the economy remains anemic.

Newcomers will be plugging into IBM while its current yield is still a healthy 4.7%

Truist Financial

Stepping into a bank stock in a tepid-to-weak economy isn't exactly a comfortable bet. Demand for loans weakens in such environments, and to the extent a bank offers investing and capital markets services, demand for them also fades.

The argument to buy shares of Truist Financial (TFC -0.77%) if you're looking for income here and now, however, is more sound than not. Namely, its current yield of 4.9% is not only above average, but it's better defended than it seems like it should be.

Yes, most banks' lending businesses are struggling now. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports applications for refinanced loans are currently running about two-thirds below year-earlier levels, while demand for home purchase loans is down by roughly one-third.

There's far more to the story, though -- particularly for Truist.

Take its marked improvement in the profitability of loans it's still extending. Its core net interest margin rate grew 30 basis points between the second and third quarters of this year, reaching 3.12% as of Q3. That's the big driver of the bank's 10% sequential growth in net interest income, and the 16% year-over-year improvement.

See, the higher interest rates meant to curb the impact of inflation also translate into better profit margins on lending. That's why projected per-share profits of $4.99 for 2022 are only about 10% less than last year's bottom line, and why earnings are expected to grow to $5.19 per share in 2023. Of course, that's plenty of profit to cover the current annualized dividend payout of $2.08 per share.

Another reason to feel good about Truist stock after 2022's 30% sell-off? As CEO Bill Rogers accurately said in an interview with Dallas Business Journal last month, "we are creating our own tailwind." He was mostly referencing the bank's people and partners, but it's not a stretch to suggest that many other factors have taken a turn for the better since he took the helm in late 2021.

Edison International

Finally, add Edison International (EIX -1.07%) to your list of top stocks to supplement your Social Security income in 2023. 

Edison provides electricity to roughly 15 million people living in Southern California. The company also offers consulting services to institutions looking to lower their energy costs by improving the efficiency of their power usage. Its core moneymaker, however, is keeping peoples' lights on.

That's its customers' top priority as well, of course. Consumers might cancel their vacation plans or postpone the purchase of a new car, but they're not going to voluntarily turn off their power.

This in turn makes Edison International a very reliable dividend stock. The utility company has a good idea of the sort of revenue it will be generating each and every quarter, since rates are set before any electricity is delivered to its customers. Edison's top task is simply ensuring its per-kilowatt costs are below the rates it's charging customers for that power.

And after being in business for a few decades now, it knows how to do that very, very well. This is why the company's been able to up its annual dividend payment for 19 consecutive years now. It's not likely to snap that stream anytime soon, either.

Some investors will recognize Edison International as one of the names implicated in recent California wildfires. All told, as of late-2022 its costs linked to those fires totaled $8.8 billion -- one of the reasons the stock's been such a poor performer since late-2017, when the fires in question first occurred.

What's largely being overlooked by the market, however, is that Edison believes the bulk of these liabilities have been satisfied. As of the third quarter of this year, the company estimates it's only got around $1.2 billion worth of settlements to finalize. And, it further believes it will be able to reclaim about $6 billion of those costs. Once the matter is fully and finally settled, Edison International will be able to put all of its time and resources back into its core business. It's still sporting a nice 4.5% yield in the meantime.