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 these past few days.

We can start with Silver Wheaton (WPM -2.15%). The world's largest precious-metals streaming company has a policy in place whereby it shells out 20% of the cash generated by operating activities during the previous quarter to its stakeholders in the form of a dividend. As business improves, so do the disbursements. Silver Wheaton's new rate of $0.14 a share is twice as much as it paid out three months ago.

RAIT Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS) is also handing over more than just Monopoly money. The REIT specializing in commercial real estate declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 a share. This is 20% ahead of where the rate was three months ago and 50% ahead of where it was a year earlier.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB 0.83%) is boosting its quarterly payouts 10% to $0.11 a share, and it's not the only way that it's returning money to its shareholders. The Ohio-based banker with $122 billion in assets announced a new 100 million share repurchase authorization that will replace an earlier one that still had 54 million shares to go.

Fifth Third Bancorp has been cleared to boost that rate to $0.12 a share for the next quarter, and that should happen barring any setbacks.

Finally, we have Raytheon (RTN) going on the offensive. The defense contractor's new quarterly dividend is moving 10% higher to $0.55 a share. Defense contractors can be volatile -- especially these days, when government spending is coming under fire -- but Raytheon has come through with nine consecutive years of rate hikes.

Checks and balances
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. A 30-day trial subscription will let you see if it's right for you.