Help with a Federal Agency
Assistance with Federal Agencies (Casework)
One of my most important jobs as your Congresswoman is to assist the people I represent by helping them navigate the complex system of federal agencies. My office may be able to assist if you are having trouble working with the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or any other federal agency. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome, we will do our best to ensure you receive a fair and timely response to your concern.
What is Casework?
You can often obtain an answer or resolve your problems by directly contacting a federal agency or by visiting its web site. However, when additional help is required, my staff and I will open a case and act as your liaison with the appropriate federal agency to assist you in your efforts to resolve the problem.
How do I open a Case?
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that I have your written consent before contacting federal agencies on your behalf. Please complete a Privacy Act Release form and submit it to my District Office in Pasadena, CA. Make sure to include any relevant documents that will be helpful in handling your case.
Additional casework resources:
Q: Who can open a case with your office?
A: My office can open a case for you kf you live within the 27th Congressional District. If you are unsure about which district you live in, please visit www.house.gov so you can enter your address and zip code to determine who is your Congressional Representative.
Q: The federal agency has denied my claim/application. Can you overturn the decision?
A: My office cannot compel an agency to decide an issue in your favor or to overturn a final decision. However, my office can make an inquiry on your behalf about the status of a pending case or ask for clarification on the reasons for a denial.
Q: Can you help me expedite my claim or application with a federal agency?
A: My office cannot expedite any claim under any circumstance. However, each federal agency has its own set of criteria for expediting cases and my staff can help find out what options are available to you.
Q: Can you help me with problems involving State or Local agencies?
As a federal representative I can only make inquiries involving federal agencies. If your case involves a state or local agency, please contact your state or local government representative for assistance.
Q: Can you help me with my legal case or court hearing?
A: Due to the constitutional separation of powers between the three branches of government, judicial matters (issues involving the courts) do not fall under my jurisdiction as a Member of Congress. House ethics rules also prohibit me from acting as an attorney or providing legal advice to you.
Q: Can you help me resolve problems I am having with a neighbor, coworker, or private business?
A: I am regretfully unable to directly intervene in private disputes between individuals, businesses, or other independent entities. However, I am more than happy to provide you with available programs and resources that may be helpful in pursuing such complaints.
Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) - http://www.va.gov
In order for our office to contact the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) regarding benefits, the veteran must already have an active claim pending with the VA Regional Office. If you have not yet filed a claim, you can contact the VA directly for information on how to do so.
The VA currently has many claims pending for different types of benefits, and as a result, many veterans may feel that their case may been overlooked or mishandled. While we cannot expedite any claim, we can contact the VA Regional Office to provide us with updates regarding your case.
Social Security Administration (SSA) - http://www.ssa.gov
Before our office can inquire about your Social Security benefits, you must first file a claim with your local Social Security office.
Each request and appeal for benefits must go through the steps set forth by the SSA. Even though we cannot expedite a claim or compel SSA to give benefits to a constituent, we can ask the agency to provide us with an update on your case. The update should reveal that SSA has received all the required information for your request and that your case is being properly handled.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - http://www.uscis.gov
Our office cannot begin the application process for any constituent. For assistance on how to submit an petition or other application with USCIS please visit their website and set up an InfoPass appointment.
Oftentimes my constituents will go months or years without hearing from USCIS about a particular application. In these cases we can contact USCIS in order to get an update on your case. However, we do not have the ability to expedite any petition or application.
Department of State - http://www.travel.state.gov
If you are writing about a denied non-immigrant travel visa, please keep in mind that there is no appeal option for such cases. If the applicant is still interested in visiting the U.S. he or she should be prepared to reapply directly with the Consulate/Embassy. Our office cannot write letters of support for family members, friends, or business partners wanting to visit the United States.
Home-loan Modifications and Foreclosures - http://www.hud.gov
Distressed homeowners are encouraged to contact their lenders and loan servicers directly to inquire about foreclosure prevention options that are available to you. If you are experiencing difficulty communicating with your mortgage lender or servicer about your need for mortgage relief, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can assist you in finding a home loan modification counselor. These counselors are federally approved and do not charge for their services. For a list of free counseling centers in your area please visit http://www.hud.gov.
Also, please review the “Avoiding Foreclosure” page on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website for advice on navigating the issue of loan modifications and foreclosures.
If, after exploring these options, you choose to write to me about your case, please be sure to include your loan number, lender name and any recent statements or letters you have received from your lender regarding the status of your loan.
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