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Mary Thompson with her nieces Brandi, left, and Brianna Carlos. — David Walter Banks/Luceo

Many Americans faced with tough and unexpected life events turn to Social Security for support.  Brianna and Brandi Carlos of Camden, S.C., and John Braden of Monticello, Ga., are just two cases among the millions.

When her sister died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm in 2004, Mary Thompson didn't think twice about taking in her two young nieces. "I love them like they're my own," says Thompson, 55, who lives in Camden, S.C. "The only thing — I was totally responsible financially, and that became hard." … Back to Article

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