She spent 16 years on the streets, but never once begged for money

It’s easy to forget that everyone has their own tale to tell, each one more distinctive than the previous. While some people appear to be experiencing only ecstasy and happiness, others appear to be dealing with the polar opposite. This 80-year-old woman’s story has many twists and surprising turns, and perhaps the rest of the world can learn from it. Wanda Ritter had been homeless for 16 years and insisted that “the government owed her $100,000.”

She took this message with her every day, along with a suitcase full of paperwork and unpaid checks. Unfortunately, most people ignored her as another person suffering from mental illness and labeled her as insane. The former locksmith and mother of four was frequently spotted strolling the streets of Washington, adamant that the Social Security Administration owed her a sizable sum of money.

“I was afraid to get rid of the luggage,” she said. “I told myself that if I did something foolish, people would think I was insane.” Everything changed, however, when Julie Turner, a 56-year-old social worker, became intrigued by Wanda’s narrative and started to investigate her case. Turner shook her head in disgust as she read the materials. “She didn’t need mental health assistance; she needed financial assistance,” she said. It was obvious to her that the government owed Wanda $100,000.

But how did Wanda come to recognize this? Wanda had been receiving monthly checks ranging from $300 to $900, but she had never cashed them. She suspected something was wrong with the checks and diligently returned them. Wanda, on the other hand, eventually contacted Social Security Services to inquire about the disparity. “I thought that if I collected the checks and claimed there had been a mistake, no one would believe me,”

Wanda told local reporters, emphasizing her idea that she could address the problem once it was under control. Wanda acquired a $500 apartment with the critical support of social worker Julie Turner, marking a watershed moment in her life. Wanda Ritter received her first Social Security check for $1,644 a week after her tale made news, a significant step forward on her road to reclaiming what was properly hers.

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