SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – Keith and Debbie Addis of Sebring said their “I do’s” in the 80s. For the last nine years, Keith Addis has tried to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that he is married.
“I was starting to think there’s just no way the VA is going to do anything,” he said.
“We were watching Channel 8 news one night and we saw your story that you had helped another veteran, and I said to Keith, ‘You know we need to contact this guy. The worst thing they could say is, No, they can’t help us,'” Debbie Addis said.
Keith served in the U.S. Air Force in the 70s. He suffered a service-connected injury. The VA now pays him a small disability check.
News Channel 8 met Keith and Debbie in Bradenton last week before he underwent a heart procedure. “It’s become urgent since I got into this heart failure situation,” Keith said.
If something happens, Keith wants to make sure Debbie receives his benefits. But for 9 years the VA has sat on his request to change his marital status.
“All this time they kept saying, ‘Well there’s a problem; there’s a problem.’ I go, ‘What’s the problem?’ And they would ever tell me,” Keith explained.
It turns out someone at the VA wrote down the wrong initial for Debbie’s middle name.
Keith turned to U.S. Congressman Tom Rooney, R-Fla., for help. “And the congressman’s office even said, ‘The VA does what it wants to do, when it wants to do it, and that’s really not the way it should be handled,'” Keith said.
Target 8 sent an email to the VA Nov. 15. The next day the VA sent a letter to Keith, notifying him his marital status had officially been changed.
“The very next day, what a coincidence,” winked Keith.
Because he is married, Keith is entitled to a little more each month from the VA. When the Addis’ got home from the hospital last week, the letter was sitting in their mailbox, informing them the VA had deposited the money it should have paid Keith dating back to 2012.
“You made something we thought was basically impossible to happen, possible, and for that I’m very grateful,” Debbie said.
“You helped immensely, and I really appreciate it and I want to thank you for that,” Keith said.
If you have a problem that you need investigated, call our Target 8 helpline at 1-800-338-0808.