Help with a Federal Agency

Need help with a federal agency, but aren’t sure where to start? If you need some direction, you can’t get an answer in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you require. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.

There are a few important things to know about the assistance my staff and I can offer.

As a federal official, I can help you if you are dealing with a federal agency. Federal agencies are part of the national (as opposed to state or local) government. Some common federal agencies include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), United States Postal Service (USPS), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  (You can find a complete list of federal offices at

In order to assist you, you must already have filed an application, complaint, or petition, or otherwise corresponded with the agency in question.

I cannot help you with problems that are purely state or local in nature. For help with such problems, you might want to find your state and local government officials on my Government Resources page. Common non-federal issues include:

  • Driver’s licenses
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Child support
  • Police and criminal investigations
  • State taxes
  • Pending judicial matters

When can we help you?

If you are a resident of Rhode Island and living in the Second Congressional District, my office would be happy to help you work with a federal agency in an attempt to facilitate, expedite or resolve certain issues you may have.

Federal agencies include departments within the President’s cabinet, including the VA, the Postal Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), among others listed above.

If you are not from Rhode Island, I invite you to contact your home representative in Congress.

Where do you begin?

If you believe that you have a problem that I can help you solve, please call my Rhode Island Office at (401) 732-9400. Please note, calling my office is the best way to ensure a quick response. Before you call, please try to gather as much information pertaining to your case as possible, such as:

  • Your Social Security number for a case involving Social Security;
  • VA claim number for a case with Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • Taxpayer identification number (Social Security number, if individual) for an IRS problem.;
  • Your address, home phone number and daytime phone number (if different than home) so that we can obtain any additional information from you that might be necessary; and/or
  • Copies of any related documents or correspondence that you may have from the agency involved.

In addition, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires that Members of Congress or their staff have written authorization before they can obtain information about an individual’s case. For this reason, in order to investigate your problem, you will need to fill out a Privacy Release Form. If at all possible, please mail or fax the signed form to my Rhode Island Office before calling.

What issues do we regularly assist with?

Immigration: If you are living in a foreign country but are interested in moving to Rhode Island, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web site can provide helpful information on becoming a lawful permanent resident or checking the status of an application. My office can also answer your questions about naturalization, employment authorization and other immigration issues.

Passports and overseas travel: The State Department is the best place to start for information for U.S. citizens looking to obtain a passport and travel abroad. Are you traveling overseas in the near future but haven’t yet received your passport? In an emergency situation, my office can help expedite your application.

Social Security and Medicare: The Social Security Administration has an entire page dedicated to answering questions about Social Security services and benefits, as well as information on screening and eligibility. Has your Social Security check stopped coming? My office can assist you when accessing Social Security and other benefits like Medicare. Learn more »

Student loans: Are you struggling to repay your loans and need to defer payments? Are you preparing for college and aren’t sure where to start? These are common questions, and my office can help you get answers. Learn more »

Veterans: There are state and federal resources available that many veterans may be unaware of. The Department of Veterans Affairs web site is a good place to start, or visit my landing page for frequently asked questions about benefits and services available to veterans of our armed services. My office has helped many veterans get access to benefits they earned and can also help with records requests.