Jim's Weekly Column
How Can I Help?
I recently heard from a woman in my district. Like many other veterans, her husband applied for post-9/11 GI benefits to help support his family while continuing his education. He served our country honorably in Iraq and received the Bronze Star with Valor. Since he had enlisted right out of high school, he had given up his time and youth to risk his life for this country. Upon returning from his tour, he wanted to pursue higher education.
Although 100% eligible, his family hadn’t received a check in months due to a simple computer glitch in the Veterans Affairs' (VA) computer system. The mistake added significant financial stress to him and his family. After I communicated with the VA, the agency found and fixed the glitch. Several days later, the family received a check for back benefits and the VA corrected the error so that his family will not experience this hardship again.
This family was completely unaware that Members of Congress can assist with issues like this one, until her father suggested contacting my office.
By the time people call my District Office in search of help with the federal government, they are completely frustrated with the process. They have called an 800 number and waited on hold; they have sent forms somewhere in Washington only to learn they have been lost; or they simply want to know the status of a claim, but don’t know where to go.
Representatives can’t dictate to a federal agency a specific outcome, but we can make sure that you receive every consideration you deserve and help streamline the process whenever possible.
I can offer assistance when you are navigating the vast and frustrating federal bureaucracy. Something like getting your Medicare claim or IRS refund, or applying for a passport or visa can be so difficult it seems impossible. But these items— a Medicare claim, a tax refund check, a passport delivered on time– are important. They can mean the difference between putting food on the table and struggling to make ends meet.
In another example, a woman from West Allis came to my office seeking help in tracking down her deceased husband’s military awards and records. Her husband fought for this country during WWII and earned several awards. But one of them, a prestigious Presidential Citation, was never received. I requested the VA double check their records to see what happened to the missing awards. We worked with the local Veterans Service Office to deliver the Presidential Citation to the widow.
Regardless of the trouble you are having with a federal agency, I encourage you to contact my office or drop by a Town Hall or Office Hour Meeting. You can contact my office in Brookfield at (262) 784-1111 or on the hotline at 1-800-242-1119.
In order to assist you, privacy laws dictate that I have your written permission to contact an agency on your behalf. The first step in the process is to fill out a privacy release form and include a description of the situation.
It is an honor to make sure our men and women who fought for our country received the honor they earned. It is a responsibility I take very seriously to help all my constituents receive fair and efficient treatment from our federal agencies.
If you are not a resident of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District, it is important to contact your Representative or Senator. You can find out who represents you in Congress by entering your Zip Code