Sep 2, 2007

Getting Congressional Help

This bit of naivete is from Mercury News:
Q Regarding help from congressional representatives, about four years ago my son injured his back while working. He had to have major spine surgery.

He was having great difficulty convincing the Social Security Administration of his complete inability to ever work again.

Doctors and a hearing officer said he would never work again.

Still, he was denied disability benefits.

I helped him write letters to Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer outlining the entire debacle and asking that someone intervene on his behalf.

Feinstein assigned one of her top aides to delve into the problem.

Within three weeks my son received notice from the Social Security office that he had been awarded disability coverage.

We are absolutely certain that had Feinstein not intervened he would have been denied a third time.

P.S. I have also written letters for other problems such as non-payment of rebates with the notation "cc: Action Line" and always get immediate attention.

Thanks for having such a strong reputation that vendors and manufacturers hurry to resolve complaints in order to avoid having their names published in the newspaper.

Gloria DeJarlar
San Jose

A Thanks, Gloria. From the mail I'm getting, it looks like the folks in congressional offices can really make things happen. So, if you have a problem with a federal agency, get in touch with your local representatives. You'll find their contacts information on the Web or in the phone book.
I call this naivete because all that results from contacting a Congressman or Senator about a pending Social Security case is a meaningless exchange of form letters, with the Senator or Congressman getting all the credit if the claim happens to be approved. Funny, but the Congressional representatives never seem to get the blame for denials and delays.


Anonymous said...

Charles, you are so right. I am a long time government employee who has worked in several agencies and on the Hill. I would say that contacting a local Congressional representative, on any matter, is a complete waste of time and energy. It only results in the perfunctory exchange of form letters.

I can also assure you that NOBODY in Congress EVER monitors email. So you won't even get a perfunctory letter if you try to contact your Rep that way.

I'd like to see some enterprising media person do an expose on the money that funds the empty bureaucracy that makes up so called Congressional "services." What a waste.

shrink rap said...

Agree about "Congressional Inquiry" letters. In addition the allowance rate in the SF Region is 50% anyway. Highest in the country AFAIK.

Anonymous said...

Agree about the standard Cong. inquiry letters. When you have backlogs in the system, damn near every case has a CI or something comparable to that in it, and it's simply impossible to move it up in the queue. Now, I have also seen badly fraked up cases get straightened out when a Congressional Staffer really digs in, gets on the phone, calls some contacts, and doesn't take "I'll get back to you" for an answer. But that is far from common.