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Saturday, October 20, 2012

When You Ask a Senator or Member of Congress for Help

In this weekend's Your Money column, I remind readers of a consumer service that I managed to forget about myself and certainly never wrote about before: the full-time staff members who work for senators and members of Congress who do nothing but help constituents with problems (often financial ones) that somehow involve a federal agency. In many offices, they refer to this as constituent service, and the people who do the work are often called caseworkers.

While some of these staff members (and their bosses, the elected officials) are more efficient and interested in the job than others, they can and do help people who are having a hard time dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the regulators who oversee mortgage lenders.

I had room for only a few examples in the column, so let's hear about some from you now. Please compose a comment telling us about the request for help that you made, when you made it and to whom and what the result (if any) was. Tales from state representatives are welcome, too. Stories of failure are fair game, as always.

Also, my guess is that a few actual caseworkers will turn up here,  too. Don't be shy, please; share your favorite success stories and tales of crazy people calling as well, even if you have to leave your current or former employer out of it. And do let us know which federal agencies are the toughest to deal with. I hear that immigration is one of them.