WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Washington, D.C. woman is celebrating a happy ending to a story that began some two decades ago! She spent the better part of 20 years living on the street, all the while, trying to get the government to pay her the Social Security funds she was owed. In the end, she fought Uncle Sam and won.
It's hard for 80-year-old Wanda Witter to fully comprehend the last few months of her life -- a life now resurrected.
"Living outdoors -- there's a lot wrong with that," Witter said.
Witter has now moved into a small apartment in northwest D.C. She said the air mattress is so luxurious, she has a hard time getting out of it in the morning!
Witter was homeless for 20 some years while engaged in a bitter battle with the government -- a battle she won.
"I just can't explain it any other way you are just scared to death," Witter said.
Witter, a trained paralegal, moved to D.C. in 1996. She couldn't find work and ended up in a shelter. After qualifying for Social Security, she disputed the check amounts. Eventually, the government stopped sending her checks because Witter didn't have a fixed address.
Witter wrote letters to explain her situation, but says they were ignored.
"I know I'm entitled to this and somebody is screwing me here," Witter said.
Amazingly, Witter used a dolly to haul around three suitcases filled with Social Security documents and research. Recently, a social worker poured over the papers and realized Witter was right.
"We got her this huge result in three months which is amazing. It's incredible," Daniela de la Piedra said.
Daniela de la Piedera with the Legal Counsel for the Elderly took the case, and proved the government-owed Witter around $100,000.
"The check for $99,999 was deposited into her bank account," Daniela de la Piedra said.
Witter plans to use the money, first and foremost, to fix health problems caused by living outside for so long. But oddly enough, she said she fears she'll waste the money and her second chance at life.
The streets that make Witter tough, also made her skeptical.
"I can't imagine how to handle $100,000. I have never had that kind of money in my life," Witter said.
The Washington Post is reporting Witter may be entitled to even more money once all the paperwork is processed.