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Roughly a Century Later, 110-Year-Old Widow Gets Benefits Boost for Husband's Service in WWI

"feeds herself, reads the National Enquirer regularly and 'can tell you the Pirates are in second place'"

(Photo: AP)

One of Pennsylvania's oldest living residents, 110-year-old Alda Collins, recently became one of the only Americans to receive a benefits boost due to her husband's service in World War I.  According to reports, after a long battle with government bureaucracy, the woman's checks increased from $36 to roughly $1,000 a month.

The Daily American has background:

Nearly a century after William Collins served as a sharpshooter in the calvary in World War I, his 110-year-old wife finally is receiving military benefits.

With assistance from U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, Alda Collins ... is getting about $1,000 a month to assist with her stay at a nursing home north of Ebensburg.

It's a far cry from the $36 a month she had been receiving, said her son, James, 73, of Carrolltown.


In all, Alda Collins will receive about $25,000 in back benefits, dating to when her son applied for the money four years ago.  [Emphasis added]

“We’ve been trying to get it straightened out for a long time,” Collins' son James noted, adding: “Every time I got a letter back, they’d tell me they were processing it.”

Congressman Critz celebrated the victory, saying: “It is really just an awesome outcome...You can’t help but feel like Mr. Collins found a way to say ‘happy birthday’ to his wife and just had my office deliver the card.”

But while the elderly woman is grateful for Critz's help in the matter, Collins describes herself as a die-hard Republican and doesn't appear to be changing her political stance.

CNHI News related that Collins has been casting ballots for the GOP since she was first eligible to vote after the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.

The Daily American has more on the woman's life:

[Collins] lived by herself in a trailer in Carrolltown until she was 106, and still can use a walker to get to the bathroom, feeds herself, reads the National Enquirer regularly and "can tell you the Pirates are in second place," her son said.

For years, Alda Collins taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Somerset, the kind that had a pot-belly stove in the middle of the room for heat.

Born in 1902, she was 5 years old when she saw her first car.

"Look, here comes a buggy without a horse," she reportedly called to her mother.


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