Dividend checks continue to beef up in corporate America as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). The software behemoth is raising its quarterly dividend by 23% to $0.16 a share. Mr. Softy made waves this week when it issued three-year debt at an unbelievable 0.875% rate. The stock now yields 2.6%. Am I the only one shaking my head that a company's common stock yields more than its corporate debt?

You deserve a fatter dividend check today. Did somebody say McDonald's (NYSE: MCD)? The world's largest restaurant chain is boosting its quarterly payout 11% to $0.61 a share. Clocking in at $2.44 per share annually, we're almost at the point where the disbursements from a single share are nearly enough to pay for a value meal every year. If you're willing to go with a pair of sandwiches from the dollar menu -- and opt for iced tap water as your beverage -- you really can feed yourself from Mickey D's dividend.

Covidien is (NYSE: COV) another hiker. The health-care-products specialist is growing its quarterly distributions by 11% to $0.20 a share. Investors are being spoiled, since this is the second time that Covidien has jacked up its yield over the past 12 months.

Finally, we have ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) bringing meatier dividends to the table. The company behind Chef Boyardee canned pasta, Slim Jim beef jerky, and Healthy Choice entrees is cranking up its quarterly rate by 15% to $0.23 a share.

It's encouraging to see companies improving their yields at a time when fixed income investments are on the floor. These four companies join retailer REIT Realty Income (NYSE: O), military contractor Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), and poultry producer Sanderson Farms (Nasdaq: SAFM) in sending more of their money back to their shareowners.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Do higher dividends matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Covidien and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft, on which Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.