Dividend checks continue to get fatter in Corporate America as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM). The semiconductor specialist jacked up its quarterly dividend by 13% to $0.09 a share. Broadcom also announced an accelerated share repurchase plan.

Shares of United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) drove to a new 52-week high last week after bumping its distributions higher. UPS is lifting its quarterly payout 11% to $0.52 a share. The shipping giant's rate has more than tripled since 2000.

Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is also ensuring that its investors receive meatier disbursements. The insurer's yield is doubling with a new quarterly rate of $0.10 a share. It's a bold step for a company that slashed its dividend more than 90% during the financial crisis.

Finally we have Hershey (NYSE: HSY) sweetening up it quarterly payouts. The food company behind its namesake sweets improved its distributions by 8% to $0.345 a share. The move was in line with Hershey's 7% top-line gain for all of 2010.

An improving economy is giving more companies the flexibility to prop up their yields. These four companies join trucker J.B. Hunt (Nasdaq: JBHT), health insurer Aetna (NYSE: AET), and mutual fund manager Calamos (Nasdaq: CLMS) in energizing their already generous disbursements.

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.

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