80-year-old Wanda Witter has been in a decades-long fight to prove that the federal government owes her $100,000.
During the struggle, she became homeless and found herself living on the streets. Still, she pressed on, despite everyone in her life suggesting that her claim had no merit.
Witter claimed that the Social Security Administration owed her the money after a series of snafus that began when Witter worked as a machinist, making turbine and engine parts.
She moved around a lot and held many different jobs — and the government couldn’t keep up. They began sending her checks to incorrect addresses and drawing them up in incorrect amounts.
Witter refused to cash these checks, but kept record of their amounts versus the amount she was owed.
Eventually, she actually moved to Washington, D.C., to be, in her words, “where all the lawyers were supposed to be.”
Wanda Witter who has been homeless for years, waged a long battle to prove Social Security owes her more than $100k http://bit.ly/2boqIRx
— Blink (@OrgResRep) August 22, 2016
She would call the toll-free line and argue with representatives from the Social Security office.
She sent letters and tried, in vain, to get someone to actually listen to her.
Her daughters came to rescue her from homelessness, but she refused to leave until the government actually took her seriously.
Nobody believed her, despite the fact that she carried all of the pertinent paperwork with her at all times, in a series of suitcases.
— (((Claire Huxable))) (@dashingclaire) August 22, 2016
Wanda Witter spoke to The Washington Post about her lengthy ordeal to make the government admit to their error:
“They kept thinking I was crazy, telling me to get rid of the suitcases,” she said.
“I wasn’t going anywhere without the money they owe me.”
“I knew, when I committed to homelessness, I had to be very careful about what I did. ‘Don’t do anything stupid,’ I told myself.
Because they’ll think I’m a mental case.”
Finally, after years of living on the street, Witter found a sympathetic ear.
Social worker Julie Turner began working on her behalf, contacting the Social Security office in order to ascertain whether or not the government truly owed the woman $100,000.
Turner marveled at just how organized Witter was. Her paperwork was pristine.
As it turns out, the government did indeed owe her that lofty sum of money:
“She had all the paperwork there, neatly organized, in order. She was right all along.
They did owe her all that money.”
Now, the actual amount owed to Witter may actually stretch out to more than $100,000. The paperwork has to be officially sorted through and, at that point, an actual amount will be announced.
— ABC7News (@ABC7News) August 23, 2016
Meanwhile, Witter is feeling vindicated:
“They kept sending me to mental counselors.
I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t mentally ill.”
While she was waiting for the full amount, Witter received a check for $1,464 to hold her over.
A homeless woman’s $100,000 smile after Social Security paid what it owed her http://bit.ly/2bor0YI
— Post Local (@postlocal) August 23, 2016
It was enough to get her off of the streets. She got a small apartment for $500 a month.
According to her attorney, in a couple more days, she’ll be able to cash a $99,999 check, though.
A spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration has declined to comment on the case.
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Source: independent journal
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