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

Readers of our 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 Corning (NYSE:GLW). The specialty glass and ceramics giant is boosting its dividend 11% to $0.10 a share. It's also returning more money to investors in the form of a $2 billion buyback.

Core sales were flat in Corning's latest quarter, but core earnings rose 12% -- and up 15% on a per-share basis. With positive signs of continuing earnings growth across its businesses in the near term, sharing the wealth is the right thing to do.

StoneMor Partners (NYSE:STON) also showed signs of life with its payouts. The only death-care company structured as a high-yielding limited partnership boosted its quarterly rate from $0.59 per unit to $0.595 per unit. It's the second time in six months that StoneMor -- operator of 276 cemeteries and 92 funeral parlors -- has hiked its distributions. Why push up daisies when you can also push up your yield?

Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE: APL) is also fueling its disbursements. The midstream natural gas specialist's new rate of $0.59 per unit marks the tenth time over the past 11 quarters that Atlas Pipeline Partners has boosted its payout.

Last but certainly not least, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) came through with its long overdue hike. The consumer tech giant's new quarterly rate of $3.05 a share is a 15% improvement.

Apple initiated a distribution policy 13 months ago, and investors have been waiting for the cash-rich company to rescue its free-falling shares with a meatier yield. Apple also beefed up its share buyback authorization, and that's where the real rescue of the sluggish stock will take place.

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.

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.