Americans come together when it comes to Social Security. Initially designed to provide a basic income for retirees and their families, Social Security is widely considered the most successful government program in the nation's history.
Americans support its values of shared risk and responsibility, mutual support between generations and concern for the most vulnerable among us. They appreciate the system's fairness: Workers pay into it to earn retirement benefits that are paid regardless of wealth, profession or state of the economy.
Social Security also provides insurance against the tragic turns of life. It helps support people who can no longer work because of illness or injury, or who have lost a family breadwinner prematurely.
Today, 60 million people collect benefits. Here's what 12 say the program has meant to them.