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 Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). The world's largest software company is boosting its quarterly disbursements by 25% to $0.20 a share. The tech giant wasn't even paying dividends a decade ago, but shares of Mr. Softy are now yielding a healthy 3.2%.

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) celebrated a ridiculous milestone this year. The burger baron has now come through with a whopping 100 consecutive months of year-over-year same-store sales growth on a global basis. Its payout streak isn't as impressive, though Mickey D's has come through with higher declarations every year since 1976. Its latest move is a 15% increase, pushing its quarterly rate to $0.70 a share.

The best defense is a good offense at Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), as the defense contractor is cranking up its quarterly distributions by 33% to $1 a share. Lockheed Martin also increased its share repurchasing intentions by $2.5 billion, returning more money to shareowners.

Buoyed -- or perhaps Chef Boyardee'd -- by its strong cash flows, food giant ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) is inching its dividend 4% higher. Investors will now be receiving $0.24 a share every three months.

These companies are joined by Cincy-based banker Fifth Third Bank (Nasdaq: FITB) and Irish health-care products maker Covidien (NYSE: COV) in jacking up their distributions.

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.

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

The Motley Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin, Fifth Third Bancorp, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, McDonald's, and Covidien; and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.