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 Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX)The downstream energy specialist is gushing. Phillips 66 will now be shelling out $0.3125 a share to its investors every three months, and that's a 25% improvement over its earlier rate.

What can "Brown" do for you? Green! UPS (NYSE:UPS) is pushing its quarterly payouts 9% higher to $0.62 a share. UPS has tripled its dividend rate since 2000, but it's not the only way that the parcel delivery giant is returning money to its stakeholders. UPS also reauthorized the company's $10 billion share repurchase program.

Apache (NASDAQ:APA) is another company fueling fatter disbursements. The oil and gas explorer is boosting its quarterly dividends 18% to $0.20 a share.

NorthStar Realty Finance (NYSE:NRF) is also loosening its grip on its purse strings. The commercial real estate REIT's quarterly rate is moving 6% higher to $0.18 a share. It probably wasn't a surprise when NorthStar came through with blowout quarterly results a day later.

Then again, even the hike was expected. Northstar has been declaring higher dividends every quarter for the past six quarters.

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. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.