Having Trouble With A Federal Agency?
For nearly 200 years, members of the Senate have been assisting their constituents when they need help dealing with the federal government. I believe this is one of my most important duties as your Senator.
My staff is happy to assist you in trying to resolve problems with a federal agency. We can help you obtain information on the status of a claim you have filed. Keep in mind, a U.S. Senator and staff CANNOT force a Federal government agency to decide an issue in your favor or overturn a decision that is within the law and final. If you are seeking information from the federal government and have not been able to find an answer, my staff may be able to help. Members of the staff can answer common questions that arise when fellow Iowans apply for benefits or seek services from our government. Sometimes simple questions can be answered on the agency's website. Most federal agencies can be found at www.first.gov which provides the general public with easy, one-stop entry to all on line federal government agencies.
While I am able to assist with a large number of things, it is important to explain what can not be done. The Constitutional principle of Separation of Powers requires that no member of the legislature attempt to assume powers that are reserved to the other branches of government. That means that an individual U.S. Senator does not have the authority to require an agency to make determinations. A U.S. Senator or staff member may, however, ask for an explanation of a decision made by an agency and then pass the agency's explanation on to you.
If your case involves a federal agency, the best way for you to contact my office is by filling out the web form below. You may also call or send a mailing to one of my local offices. Due to the ongoing mail delays in Washington, it can take 3 to 4 weeks for a constituent letter to reach me if mailed to my D.C. office. Sending it to one of my local Iowa offices is a better choice.
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that I have your written permission to make an inquiry on your behalf. Therefore, you will need to complete a Casework Authorization Form (see below). That form is available as an Acrobat Reader (PDF) file. Please print the form and mail it along with a description of your request to the address on the form. For more information, please contact my local office that is closest to you.
There are two steps to getting my office involved in a matter on your behalf:
- Fill out the form below or call the Iowa office closest to you.
- Print, sign, and mail the casework authorization form to the address on the form.
Request Assistance With A Federal Agency
Fields marked with an * are required.
State and Local Matters
If the difficulty you are experiencing involves a State agency, that complaint should be sent to the Governor of Iowa at www.governor.state.ia.us/ or your state senator or representative. You can find out who your local senator or representative is at www.legis.state.ia.us/FindLeg/. Inquiries that my office receives involving a state agency, will be sent to the Governor of Iowa. If your concern involves a local government office, it should be sent to the head of that office.
Matters Before the Courts
U.S. Senators are also prohibited by Senate rules from providing legal advice or interfering with matters before the courts. If you need assistance with the proceedings, judgements or sentences of any court of law, you will need to contact legal counsel. You may contact the Iowa State Bar Association at 515-243-3179 or at www.iowabar.org or the Iowa Legal Aid office at 800-532-1275 or at www.iowalegalaid.org. Persons using English as a Second Language should call 800-532-1275 or 515-243-2151 in Des Moines.
Not From Iowa?
If you are not from Iowa, you need to contact one of your Senators at http://www.senate.gov. Due to congressional courtesy, any inquiries sent to my office from non-Iowans will be forwarded by my staff to one or both of the Senators from your state.
Helpful Government Web Sites
- Department Of Agriculture A broad range of services and information; Farm loans; Conservation Reserve Program information; Rural development; Disaster assistance
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Assisting with immigration and non-immigrant visa questions; Providing information about permanent residency and citizenship procedures
- Department Of Veterans Affairs Applying for and receiving monetary, educational, and medical benefits; Obtaining medals and service records; Securing services and treatment at V.A. hospitals
- Homes And Communities (HUD) The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides information on homeownership, housing assistance, fairness, and community development
- Department Of Transportation (DOT) A wide array of transportation services and information; some DOT organizations:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Assisting with basic tax related information; Helping individuals who have been contacted regarding a problem with their taxes
- Social Security Administration Correcting payment problems; Answering inquiries concerning disability and other benefits
- Medicare Obtaining Medicare information regarding eligibility and benefits; Handling reporting of fraud
- Military Assisting active military personnel obtain medical care, discharges, transfers, back pay, etc.; Working with family inquiries concerning members of the active military
- Firstgov A directory and search tool for all federal government resources on the Web