Dividend checks continue to get fatter 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 Brinker International (NYSE: EAT). The restaurateur behind the Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy is serving up bigger portions -- to its shareholders, at least. Brinker's new quarterly rate of $0.16 a share is a 14% improvement.

Airgas (NYSE: ARG) is also inflating its dividend. Record earnings and strong cash flow in fiscal 2011 is giving the specialty gas and dry ice distributor the leeway to puff its quarterly distributions 10% higher, to $0.32 a share.

Can you hike me now? Good. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is also on the move. The telco giant is boosting its quarterly payouts by 3% to $0.50 a share. It may not seem like much of a move, but Verizon's board has now come through with five consecutive years of meatier disbursements.

Finally, we have Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM) enriching its shareowners. The Canadian banker is increasing its quarterly rate by 3%. Again, a 3% move may not seem like much, but this is the first time in four years that the Canadian Imperial has juiced up its payout.

These stocks join bankers TD Bank (NYSE: TD) and WesBanco (Nasdaq: WSBC) in recently moving their rates higher.

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.

Use these links if you want to track these stocks to see if and when they hike their payout again: