WWII Veteran Still Waiting For $6,500 Tax Refund Check From 2019 To Arrive

A 97-year-old U.S. Navy veteran fears she’ll pass away before the IRS puts her check in the mail; KDKA's Meghan Schiller reports.

Video Transcript

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: She's not a banker. She's not interested in lending money to the US government.

- New tonight and only on KDKA News at 6:30, and 97-year-old Navy veteran fear she'll die before the IRS puts her refund check for 2019 in the mail. Her daughter says she sent every requested piece of paperwork in, but after 15 months of waiting, still no luck.

- Yeah, and desperate for answers, the family reached out to KDKA investigator Meghan Schiller.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: OK, tell me when.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: It's a typical morning filled with coffee, the paper, and tears.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: So I'd like her to see the money. It'd be a real gift.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Cindy Giovannitti cares for her 97-year-old mom, Julia. But no job compares to this.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: It's frustrating. It's been maddening. And it's turning into a full time job.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Cindy spends hours standing at the computer.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: I've made dozens and dozens of phone calls, written lots of letters, talked to a lot of different people.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: She's calling the IRS to figure out why her mom's 2019 income tax return check never arrived.

JULIA STRELEC: $6,500.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Good money.

JULIA STRELEC: Yeah. I could use a lot of it.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Julia's 2020 return already landed in the mailbox. So what's the hold up?

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: Your father died. We need his death certificates. And then they said, well, now we need your mother's birth certificate. So have fun digging up a birth certificate from that time.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: From 1924.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: From 1924.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: But she did.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: That complicates things and makes it more frustrating to--

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Because for her mom, that check means independence.

JULIA STRELEC: I'd like to visit my older sister. She's bedfast. And I'd like to go see her.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: And for Cindy, it's standing up for the woman who always looked out for her.

CINDY GIOVANNITTI: She's 97 and she worries about things. These elderly people worry about everything. And now this is one more thing that she has to worry about.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Julia admits she's not a fan of getting old.

JULIA STRELEC: Life gets [INAUDIBLE] get older you do nothing.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: But she'd feel a whole lot better if she could check this looming task off her list.

JULIA STRELEC: I can't imagine it taking that long.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: She saw a lot in World War II and never thought her nagging unfinished business would involve a simple tax return.

JULIA STRELEC: I always tell my daughter, [INAUDIBLE] wait until I die so they don't have to send it to me.

MEGHAN SCHILLER: Now even though the IRS says it cannot comment on specific taxpayers, we made sure to get her story and information into the right person's hands, saying there's no reason for a 97-year-old veteran to be tearing up over her morning coffee. We'll let you know when the check arrives in the mail. Reporting in Ohara Township, Meghan Schiller, KDKA News.