July 16, 2012

Here To Help

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Rachel, a student at Boise State University, was preparing to visit a brother stationed in England when she ran into some issues getting her passport approved in time for the trip because of errors by a government agency.  After working with the agency on Rachel's behalf, Rachel received her passport in time to visit her brother.    

Sheryl of Lewiston, a high-functioning, permanently disabled constituent, contacted me for assistance when a federal agency was requiring repayment of disability assistance she had received.  After discussions with agency staff, it was found that Sheryl did not actually have an overpayment and the issue was resolved without further burden for Sheryl. 

Like these Idahoans, if you find yourself in need of help with a personal issue that involves contacting a federal agency, I am happy to assist you.  There may be times when emergencies arise, such as when a passport is needed to assist a family member who is ill in a foreign country, your company is having difficulty getting Medicare reimbursement, or some other unexpected event occurs that requires attention.  If this happens, please contact the staff in one of my regional officesto discuss your situation, after which I will contact the agency on your behalf to assure that you have been given every consideration available by law. 

While I cannot direct a certain outcome, I can help communicate the circumstances and request that the agency take appropriate actions to assist you.  Additionally, due to jurisdictional constraints, I can only assist with federal agencies.  If your concern is with a state or local entity, you may wish to contact the appropriate jurisdiction for these issues.  More informationregarding assistance, including contact information, the required privacy release formand frequently asked questions, can be accessed through my website, at www.crapo.senate.gov.

Any information regarding constituents that is garnered from correspondence, email and/or phone calls is considered confidential.  The only exception to this is when a constituent expressly requests that their information be shared with another congressional office or government agency.  This request falls under casework, and a privacy release form must be completed by the individual requesting this service.  The examples above were used with the permission of the constituents involved with these cases. 

Idahoans are, by nature, very independent, but sometimes you may find that you need help.  My purpose in writing this column and providing the examples is to try to make sure that you know where to turn for help if you face similar situations.  Again, I am more than happy to assist with issues you might have with the federal government and look forward to being your advocate whenever possible.     

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