As we observe the 80th Anniversary of the nation's Social Security programs, we acknowledge the legacy we are entrusted to preserve. Over the decades, generations of Americans have relied upon the care and services of our committed personnel. Today, over 65,000 Social Security employees compose our great agency, providing exemplary service to the public. It is an honor to recognize the critical role our programs play in the lives of so many individuals, for whom we are the face of the federal government.
We take considerable pride in administering benefits and providing financial protection for nearly 64 million individuals who receive almost a trillion dollars annually. These include payments to retirees, adults and children with disabilities, and surviving family members, delivering on our government's promise to maintain the welfare and protection of our people. Our rich history is founded on simple, yet profound principles, reflected in the integrity and compassion of our employees. It is this narrative and tradition upon which we will build as our agency evolves and reorients our customer-centered focus to meet the emerging service needs of the public.
As the public moves confidently into the future, we must also change the way we operate. We are compelled to anticipate the social and technical advancements that offer new ways of navigating an ever-changing society. Our challenge is to embrace technological enhancements to achieve efficiency without sacrificing the personalized service for which we are known. Toward this end, we will build a stronger, ever-capable workforce, adopt engaging and contemporary training methods, expand our information and communication technologies, and modernize our operational capabilities. Of course, we must proceed toward this rapidly changing future, mindful of many present day realities. Our budgets will undoubtedly fluctuate, organized interests may express new agendas, social demographics will vary, and executive orders and congressional mandates will continue to affect the way we do business. Yet if we view such possibilities as opportunities, we can focus on creative solutions for meeting these challenges. Regardless of the complexities we might consider in the future, we must never disregard our customers' expectations for excellence.
Vision 2025 is our agency's call to action to preserve and fulfill our social contract, which emerged as the foundation of our agency 80 years ago, and remains a motivating force for us today. Our Vision would not exist without the invaluable contributions of our employees, managers, unions, other stakeholders, and customers, who provided a wealth of feedback through personal and virtual conversations and various open forums. Their comments provided keen insights into our existing operations and services while suggesting ways we can effectively approach the future.
I want to thank all who contributed to this endeavor and to the employees who will faithfully implement the principles outlined in Vision 2025. I am confident Vision 2025 will help us to continue serving our current customers and prepare for those we will assist in the future.
John F. Kennedy once said, "Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
Vision 2025 is our picture of the future.
Nancy A. Berryhill