If you have a problem with the DMV, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, any benefits you are due, or anything involving government, every agency has staff that are required to respond to requests from state and federal representatives, and every state and federal lawmaker’s office is set up to help their constituents with exactly those problems.
If you have a problem with a state or federal agency call your state or federal representatives, they can help cut through red tape and get things worked out.
TheARKHost: I have a serious problem with the FCC
Dr_Merkwurdigliebe: This is so often overlooked. Your representatives do a lot more than just vote on laws. They are quite literally there to represent you, both on the floor of the legislature and in interactions with executive agencies. No representative likes to find out that their constituents aren’t being given due attention by government officials and the good ones will go to bat for you. At the end of the day, they know where their bread is buttered (the ballot box) and thousands of elections throughout history have come down to having good constituent services and a reputation as a champion of your district’s interests.
I once worked with a company that had to do temporary layoffs for production employees after a string of months with lower-than-normal orders. Under state law, they were entitled to unemployment compensation for the layoff, but the state unemployment agency kept yanking around employees and their HR rep when it came to explaining and filing all the right paperwork (not returning calls, demanding extra copies of already submitted forms, insisting that the only unemployment office that could process their claims was the one on the other side of the state, etc.). The boss gave the state rep a call — who just so happened to sit on the committee that oversaw that agency in the state government — and asked for his help getting his employees their benefits. The situation turned around so fast it would make your head spin. One angry phone call from the state rep to the head of the agency and calls started getting returned, papers mysteriously became unlost, and compensation claims were filed and processed.
The moral of the story is that nobody likes getting an angry call from their boss demanding that they fix something now or their neck is on the line. The state rep was more than happy to help a major local employer and dozens of his constituents when they were in a bind.
Groovyaardvark: Can confirm. Social security has a batphone/fax/email that congressional inquries come through. The office manager will assign it to someone immediately with a strict turn around time. Something like 2 days. If you can’t buy food because your check is held up or your case hasn’t progressed, your rep will help you out.
I wasn’t even a citizen at the time but I was entilted to petition my rep for assistance when my citizenship application had exceeded the maximum wait time and my personal inquiry went into the abyss for months. My case progressed the very next day thanks to my reps office. I had been waiting 6 months.
Seriously the most accessable and useful service your congress rep can provide.
PrometheusSmith: I live in a state that requires the issuance of a concealed weapons permit if I meet the requirements. Not all states do this, but most are now this way. This became important when I went to get my permit after passing the state background check and taking the class. When your requirements are met the Attorney General sends a piece of paper with your confirmation on it that you take to the DMV and they issue the permit.
After I received that letter and went to the DMV I was turned away due to a typo on my paper. The DMV agent told me that I would need to contact the AG office and have the paperwork reissued, then she sent me on my way. I called the AG’s office before I left, told them what had happened, and was instructed by the woman on the other end to walk back into the DMV office and wait for the DMV’s phone to ring.
So, cell phone in hand I walked back into the DMV office, past their no cell phones sign, and waited about 20 seconds for the DMV phone to ring. There was about 2 minutes of conversation, mostly “yes” and “mhmm” by the DMV worker. She hung up, put a smile on and apologized, and had me out the door with permit in hand in less than 5 minutes.
Turns out that, with matters concerning CCW permits, when the AG’s office says “jump” the DMV asks “how high?”
Polite_and_smart: Congressional Inquiry can be started online. Use your Congressman!
okamzikprosim: Having had my 26th birthday occur during the regular enrollment window for health insurance threw my special enrollment application out of whack and it was my Assemblymember’s liaison who solved everything and got me insurance when I needed it, not at the start of the year.
I’m super grateful for them.
donutaskmeforabite: Federal level has staff specifically to help you, but state does not. So, please treat them with respect when you are telling your story and make it clear, concise and courteous. You can get 25 calls in a day from people who have been failed by the Medicaid or Medicare system and there’s not much they can really do about it but get through to the best people at the agency. And this is all going on while theyre drafting bill language and organizing events and keeping up with the needs of their representatives.
jetsetninjacat: One up for state rep. I had trouble with my states driving agency. Claimed I never turned my license in when suspended and issued a warrant for my arrest. It all started after I was handed down a 90day suspension. After 90 days they never sent me anything so I called. The lady claims they never received it but could not explain why the check wth it was cashed without it. So 3 days later a state trooper shows up to my work. He issues me a summons to appear in court for failure to turn my license in and that he could take me in but I’d be released on ror so had me sign a paper instead claiming I’d show up tomorrow. So I go and judge agrees with me that DOT screwed up and drop the fine and arrest but by law I still have to lose my license for another 90days. So I took all of my proof and went to my local senator who after 20 minutes on the phone had my license card waiting at the local DMV for me. For 2 years I still had an issue with the warrant showing up that he also took care of for me.
But for real, fuck you PENNDOT.
Edit: and to clarify proof they lost it. You send in 2 things with the license. The license, a card filled out for when it’s restored, and a check for 10 dollars to have it restored. They first claimed they didnt get anything, though I had proof they cashed the check. Then they put the card and check in the system and finally admitted it. Then they claimed they would have issued a refund without the license, but no refund was given or received (also gave me a false refund check number). Finally they told me to call back Monday again as it was a Friday. They sent the cops that Monday morning to my work at 830am. Yeah, why I hate them so much. Also why my senator blew a gasket when I handed him the packet.
sassyoctopus: If you live in Canada, the same principles apply with your MP (federal) and MLA (provincial) constituency offices!
AthleticNerd_: After the ‘08 recession I was laid off and signed up for unemployment.
A week later I got an email saying if I didn’t call to fix a minor issue, I’d lose the unemployment. But there were so many people signing up that the agency was overwhelmed and I couldn’t get through. I called all day for 3 days and couldn’t get through.
Finally, I called my local State Rep and left a message, and also sent an email. The next day someone from the unemployment office *called me* to sort things out.
nstarleather: My wife and I had an immigration problem that was caused by horrible incompetence and a lack of accountability on the part of the people who man the USCIS phone lines: we kept getting completely wrong info every time we called about our case. (It stemmed from having a different mailing address from our physical address and we had been directed to put our physical address on forms and to include a note with the mailing address by one of the reps who answer the phone lines when we asked what to do).
Anyway, apparently, the letters from immigration got set back by the post office (of course the checks were deposited). We called at least 20 times and even showed up in person at the “local” office 4 hours away and got the answer: “check back in 30 days” repeatedly over the course of a year and change.
Finally called my rep, they checked with a source at immigration and figured out we’d have to re-submit everything since immigration had no procedure for fixing mail that bounced back. Still had to pay all the fees again, but at least the congressman’s staff was able to let us know what to do.
apollo4567: I worked as a case worker for a congressman in NY. Not all states have staffers dedicated to public service like this post describes, but you can still find out by calling your local congressman’s office. Just one thing to note before you do call, be nice, we’re not politicians, we try to help but if you are a dick, there will be tons of red tape on your file.
3mw: Very helpful for passport issues. Had one delayed and it was remedied very quickly by my U.S. Representative at the time.
SomeGoodInThisWorld: If it’s too serious, you might just disappear ; )
AndrewnotJackson: This is good to know. Very good to know
zombicat: So who would I contact for problems with student loan payments? FedLoan raised my monthly payments in error and I’ve been trying to work it out with them for months now. They have me as single (I’m not) and they have the wrong income info. No matter how many times I call and send the verifying paperwork (paystubs, tax forms, their forms filled out) they won’t fix the errors. I’ve been talking with the Federal Consumer agency CFPB, but they’ve been slow and unhelpful so far. I feel like I have an extra part time job trying to deal with this. Meanwhile my credit is being trashed even though I’ve been sending what I’m supposed to pay minus the extra incorrect amount and FedLoan isn’t counting my recent payments toward PSLF. FedLoan refuses to escalate it and I have to talk to a different person each time and they all tell me something different. Is there someone at the Federal or State level I can call to work this out?
fesnying: I’ve been trying for two days to get the local SSI office on the phone. It just automatically tells you they’re busy and to call back later — no option to leave a message, get a call back, or even just wait on hold. I finally gave up and called one in a different state. Never thought I’d be pleased to hear that freaking hold music.
Edit: sat on hold for nine and a half minutes before the computer system glitched and disconnected me.
THEMACGOD: Any suggested, legit websites?
OptimusTuranic: I have problems with my School
boomerangotan: Too bad this doesn’t apply to the Texas Education Agency. Unless you have solid proof of malfeasance, hope you enjoy attending endless facade mediations.