Having A Problem With A Federal Agency? Your Member of Congress Is Here To Help!
By PAAIA Legislative Office
April 8, 2010, Washington, D.C. – How many times have you found yourself frustrated due to complications with securing a visa for a family member? Or perhaps you have had difficulty collecting your Social Security benefits? Unfortunately these problems affect everyone, including the Iranian American community. One of the main frustrations in trying to deal with such issues lies in the vast bureaucracy that one often has to navigate in order to try and resolve them. Many in our community are unaware that a great service is readily available to them to help try and solve these problems: their elected Representative.
Legislative casework, also known as constituent casework, is an integral part of every congressional office. Your Representative and their staff are obligated to help you as a constituent with any questions or concerns you may have. Often times, your congressional office will help you deal with a federal agency by acting as facilitators, ombudsmen, and in some cases advocates. However, it is important to realize the scope of the services your Representative’s office can offer you.
They can provide the following:
– Writing a letter on your behalf to a federal agency about a particular concern you may have with that agency
– Facilitating a meeting between you and federal agency officials
– Helping answer your questions and solve your problems with specific government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid
They cannot provide the following:
– Your congressional office cannot guarantee a government contract, grant, or other government action that favors your business
– Your congressional office cannot provide legal or tax advice
– Your member of congress cannot cosponsor state legislation
The first step one needs to take as a constituent is to figure out who their elected representative is. Simply by visiting PAAIA’s Online Action Center and entering your zip code, you will be notified as to who your U.S. senators and elected representative for your district are, as well as their contact information. From there, you can choose to either contact your Representative’s district office either by email, phone, or mail to explain your questions, concerns, or problems. The congressional office will then assign you to a caseworker who deals with that specific issue and from there the process of helping to resolve your problem begins!