How To Obtain Assistance From Your Elected Officials
If you've ever had a problem with a federal agency and you can't seem to be able to get anywhere, your senator and representative can probably help you. It's free and it's their job! This article will tell you how to start the process of getting assistance from your elected officials.
Is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sending threatening letters to you? Are you having problems getting your disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or from the Department of Veterans Affairs? Are you having problems with your immigration paperwork or a passport or visa? Do you want to get in or get out of the military? Your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative can probably help you - and it's free. It's also their job.
Face it, federal agency personnel are human and they make errors. Even if they have sent a denial letter to you, it's perfectly fine to ask your elected officials for assistance by having them check with their agency liaisons to ensure the response is correct and what options you may have. Sometimes agencies may need a little push that only a senator or representative can provide!
Every federal agency employs congressional liaisons. These liaisons are there to answer questions from senators, representatives and their staff. The senators and representatives employ people who assist constituents - some are called caseworkers or constituent services personnel. The caseworkers and constituent services personnel are there to help you cut through the red tape that sometimes happens in the bureaucracy of the federal government. These staffers will act as your advocate with these federal agencies.
Happy constituents equal happy voters, and that helps elected officials on Election Day!
So how do you get started?
It's important to note that U.S. senators and U.S. representatives will only assist people in their own states or districts, so it is important to contact your senator and/or representative. There are U.S. senators and representatives who work in Washington, D.C. These people deal with federal government issues. There are also state senators and representatives who work at the state capital and deal mainly with state government issues.
Each person has two U.S. senators and one U.S. representative who can assist them with federal agencies. It's all right to contact all three for assistance. You can normally find their number and address in the local phonebook (federal government section), and each one has an official (taxpayer funded) website that either ends in www.senate.gov or www.house.gov.
You can also find their contact information at senate.gov or house.gov.
On the website, you might see words like "Services" or "Help with a Federal Agency" or "Casework." If you click on one of those links, there will be directions on what you will need to do for assistance.
Some inquiries can take as little as one phone call from the staffer to the federal agency's liaison. Other inquiries can take much longer.
The bureaucracy of the federal government is ever increasing. If you feel that your issue is not getting the proper attention from the federal agency, your elected officials are there to help you - so use them!