One of the most important things I do as a U.S. Representative is help people communicate with federal agencies. Although I cannot override the decisions made by these agencies, I can often intervene on a person’s behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or just cut through the red tape.
In order for me to assist you, I will need you to complete a privacy release form to comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
You will receive a confirmation email if the privacy release is submitted correctly then a member of my staff will contact you regarding your case.
- THOMAS: The Library of Congress Internet Legislative Information System. Updated daily, it provides a searchable database for information about bills passed in Congress, bills pending in Congress, and House and Senate floor speeches and debates recorded daily in the Congressional Record.
- Federal Departments, Bureaus, Agencies: A comprehensive list of links to the homepages of federal organizations, from the CIA and the Social Security Administration to the Department of Commerce and the White House.
- FedWorld Information Network: A searchable database of federal information.
- Government Printing Office: Provides free, searchable electronic access to a wealth of important information published by the federal government. The information provided on this site is the official version of government documents.
- The White House
- U.S. House of Representatives
- U.S. Senate
- Library of Congress
- Federal Judiciary: Get the latest updates on the U.S. court system.
- FirstGov.gov: Search all federal websites from a single site.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
I lost my Medicare card. How do I get a new one?
If you lose your card, contact your local Social Security office at 1-800-Medicare or visit the Medicare website immediately to get a new one.
Please protect your Medicare card just as you would a credit card. Your Medicare card in the wrong hands can be used to submit fraudulent claims.
I recently moved to another state. How do I update my address with Medicare?
To protect you and ensure your receipt of your benefits, please let your Social Security office know that your address has changed. The number for the Social Security Administration is 1-800-772-1213.
Does Medicare Part B pay for prescription drugs?
Currently, Medicare does not include a prescription drug benefit. However, if coverage guidelines are met, Medicare allows payment for some immunosuppressive, oral, anti-emetic and nebulizer drugs. The Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 requires Medicare suppliers to accept assignment on Medicare-covered drugs.
Although I am able to walk, I have a difficult time walking long distances. Would Medicare allow payment for a wheelchair or Power Operated Vehicle (POV)?
Medicare wheelchair and POV coverage guidelines indicate that in order to allow payment for a wheelchair, a person with Medicare must be bed or chair-confined without the use of a wheelchair.
Furthermore in terms of POV all of the following criteria must be met:
- You require a wheelchair to maneuver in your home;
- You cannot operate a manual wheelchair;
- You can safely operate the controls of a POV;
- You can transfer safely to and from a POV and have adequate trunk stability to safely ride in a POV
- You need a prescription from your physician prior to purchasing the POV, and the physician and supplier must complete a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN).
Department of Education
What happens if I default on my federal student loan?
It is extremely important not to default on any loan, and defaulting on a federal student loan will impact your credit history. Eventually, your wages may be garnished as a result of defaulting on a student loan.
However, if you feel you may have to default, or if you are already in default, you should contact your lending company for counseling.
Get more information on loan defaults.
What is a loan consolidation and am I eligible for one?
Consolidation loans allow you to combine different types of federal student loans to simplify repayment. Even if you have just one loan, you can also choose to consolidate it. Both the Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Direct Loan Programs offer consolidation loans.
Learn more about loan consolidation.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Visit the Department of Housing to read valuable information about buying and selling homes along with federal housing initiatives.
Department of Labor
The Department of Labor oversees many important laws that affect our everyday lives. Here are a few of the most common questions my office receives that deal with this agency:
How can I get information about federal laws involving overtime, work hours, and other employment issues?
The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates many aspect of how employees are paid in this country.
Read the Department of Labor’s “Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act”.
How do I take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act?
There are many misconceptions about the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. For example, in most cases you need to talk to your employer about it before you take time off. Also, the law affects all public employers, but only private employers who have 50 or more employees.
Read the Department of Labor’s FMLA Fact Sheet.
Department of State
Before visiting a foreign country, you should ensure that all your travel concerns are addressed. Here are a few of the most common questions my office receives that deal with passports:
How can I renew my existing passport?
If you already have a passport that is not damaged, was issued in the past 15 years, was received after your 16th birthday, and has your same name, you can apply for a passport renewal by mail.
For more information on renewing your passport, visit the Passport Renewal Page at the U.S. Consular Affairs Web Site.
I can’t wait for the normal six week processing time for my application. Can I request an expedite?
Yes. For an additional fee, you can request expedited processing which normally takes two weeks.
For more information on expediting processing, visit the Expedited Service Page at the U.S. Consular Affairs Web Site.
I will be traveling to the Middle East next month. How can I find out if it is safe for me to go?
With the situation in the Middle East changing on a daily basis, you should check with the State Department to find out the most current public information available before traveling to the region.
To find out detailed, updated information on travel warnings and public information, visit the Travel Page at the U.S. Department of State website.
I will be going abroad this summer with my family. Will we need certain vaccinations?
Many countries require travelers to get vaccines against certain diseases.
To find out if your travel plans require a vaccination, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.
I will be traveling to several countries this summer. I’ve got a passport, but are there any other entry requirements that I need to be aware of?
Every country’s entry requirements can be different. You should inquire about entry visas for each country you will be visiting. Visit the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for information on entry requirements.
Department of Veterans Affairs
How can I get a copy of my military records (discharge, medical, etc.)?
Most military records are stored at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Visit the National Archives website for more information.
This is also an area where a congressional office can really help. If you are trying to get records from your military service, or that of a family member, feel free to contact my office.
How can I get the medals I was awarded during my service but never received?
Military medals are also an issue handled primarily through the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
In most cases, it is faster to get medals if you work through a congressional office. If you are owed medals from your service, just fill out this both this Authorization Form and SF 180 form and fax or mail it to my office. Once I receive this information from you, I will be back in touch with you regarding any other paperwork that might be required to send the request to the proper officials.
How can I get my VA claim or appeal processed faster?
The Veterans Administration currently has many claims pending for various types of benefits. Because of that, many veterans feel that their case might be overlooked or handled improperly.
I am always glad to help in these situations. At my request, the VA will “flag” a particular case and keep me updated throughout the process. However, it is important to know that I cannot act as the “representative” on a person’s VA claim. You may still want an attorney or veterans representative to help you with this. My actions will not affect the work done by the person you select as your representative.
Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information.
Federal Communications Commission
How can I learn about the rules for satellite television customers who want to receive network broadcast stations?
The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 set many new rules for satellite companies, local network television stations, and consumers. Most importantly, it created a procedure for how satellite customers could apply for a waiver from their local television stations. Without this waiver, the satellite companies cannot let a customer have network television signals from other cities.
Is it true that there is a petition pending to get rid of religious broadcasting?
No, it is not true. However, the rumor has been around since about 1975, and congressional offices are still hearing from citizens every month who are worried about this alleged petition.
In addition, it is important to note that the FCC does not have the authority to prohibit television and radio stations from broadcasting religious programs.
Read more information on this issue.
How do I file a complaint with the FCC?
The FCC accepts complaints regarding all aspects of broadcasting including: telemarketing, telephone slamming, improper taxes, obscene broadcasts, and broadcast interference.
Internal Revenue Services
Who can I talk to about problems like liens, back taxes, penalties, etc.?
The Taxpayer Advocate 24-Hour Toll-Free Hotline is: 1-877-777-4778.
Read more information about the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
The best resource for general IRS information is the agency’s official website: www.irs.gov.
Office of Personnel Management
For information for current U.S. Federal employees, visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website.
For more information on Federal job opportunities, visit the U.S.A. Jobs website.
Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration handles several important federal programs. Many contact me each month with questions about their retirement, Medicare, and their applications for disability benefits. Here are a few of the most common questions my office receives that deal with this agency:
How long does it take to process Social Security Disability claims?
An application for Social Security Disability can take from 6 weeks to several years to handle, depending on a variety of factors. For more information, visit the Social Security Disability Benefits page.
Visit the Social Security Regional Site to find your local Social Security office.
The times below are merely estimates, but represent what people in the district have experienced over the past few years:
Initial Processing – 6 to 8 weeks
– Some cases are approved in this first step. If your case is denied at this level, you are encouraged to apply for Reconsideration.
Reconsideration – 6 to 8 weeks
– Like the Initial Processing, this is all done through paperwork. If your case is denied here, you are encouraged to request a hearing in front of an Administration Law Judge.
Hearings and Appeals – 9 to 12 months
– An Administrative Law Judge will hear your claim at this level. It usually takes 9 to 12 months to get a hearing. It can take a few months longer to get a decision. You may want to get an attorney or other qualified individual to help represent you in your hearing. If you are denied at this level, you can appeal your case to the Appeals Council.
Appeals Council – 24 to 36 months
– If your claim is not approved by the Appeals Council, your only option is to file a lawsuit if you want to continue your claim.
What can the Congressman do to help with my Disability claim?
I am always happy to help constituents who need assistance with a disability claim. However, there are limits to what I can do. At my request, Social Security officials will “flag” a particular case and keep me updated throughout the process. This communication can really help a person understand what is happening with their case, so they can make other decisions regarding their life and family.
However, I cannot act as the “representative” on a person’s disability paperwork. You may want an attorney to help you with this. My actions will not affect the work done by the person you select as your representative. I also do not have the authority to overturn any decision made by the Social Security Administration.
After you file the paperwork for disability benefits with your local Social Security office, I would be pleased to follow the progress of your claim. If you would like my help, contact one of my district offices.
How can I get information about my Social Security retirement benefits?
Your local Social Security office can help you with this issue. Visit the Social Security Regional Site to find your local Social Security office.
United States Postal Service
What are the new postal rates?
As you may know, the prices for many mail services went up on June 30, 2002. To find more information on rates, visit the U.S. Postal Service website.
How can I get information on jobs with the Postal Service?
The Postal Service often has openings throughout the country.
To get more information on the requirements and application process, visit the U.S. Postal Service website.
For information on all Federal job opportunities, visit the Federal job openings page.
Where is the closest Post Office?
Although it is possible to order stamps and do other postal functions online, there are still some times when you have to visit a Post Office. For example, Post Offices still serve as a registration point for Selective Service and many major Post Offices in larger communities handle Passport applications.
To find your nearest Post Office, visit the Services Locator page at the U.S. Postal Service website.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
How can I find out the status of my paperwork with the USCIS?
- The first place to check is on any receipt notice you may have received from the USCIS. On that form there may be an estimated time of how long it will take to process the type of paperwork you filed. You should usually wait until that estimated time has passed before inquiring further. USCIS officials and my office are typically unable to check on any paperwork that is still within the normal processing time. If, however, you have a life or death emergency during this time that involves your USCIS paperwork, please contact my office as soon as possible to see if I can help.
- If the normal processing time has passed, you may contact my office and my aide will be glad to assist you by making an inquiry about your application to USCIS. If there is a problem with your application, contacting one of my Congressional liaisons at USCIS should allow me to determine where the problem lies and what necessary steps should be taken in order to solve the problem. If there is not a problem with your application, then this office will at least be able to assure you that it has not been forgotten, and that any delay may simply be the result of an increase in USCIS’s work load.
The USCIS website is very convenient and easy to navigate. Many of your general questions or concerns regarding applications and standard immigration procedures may be found there. However, you are always welcome to contact my office if you would prefer to actually speak with someone about those questions and concerns. My staff is always glad to assist you in any way they can.
All Other Agencies and Resources
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