Many Americans have been waiting several months for their tax refund, missing stimulus checks, unemployment benefits or some other government payment.
They have tried calling the paying agency, responding to letters, posting on social media and almost all other avenues they can think off. Yet have not seen much movement or feedback on their payment.
But other than formal and very expensive legal action, the final recourse to try and resolve this issue, or at least move it along is to call your representative.
For federal government items, call your Congress person. For state or local payments you will need to contact your state congressional representative.
This escalation should generally only be used after 60+ days and you have tried all avenues with the agency or department that owes you the payment (e.g IRS or Child Services).
But don’t feel guilty or scared about contacting your representative. It’s their job and what they were elected to do.
Where do I find my representative’s details?
It is very easy actually at the official Congressional website. Just enter your zip code and you will find the relevant contacts. You can also Google your federal and state representative.
For state governments and legislatures/assemblies you can go to the main website (google it) and find your local member. Try both your Senate and house member. E.g here are the California, New York, Florida and Texas.
Most representatives will have their official website and various social media accounts, which will take you a section on their website (look for help with an agency or contact us link) to enter your inquiry and they usually answer within days.
In some cases you may also have a phone number that you can call or social media handle (@[Representative]) name you can use. Again, given the volume of inquires you may need to have some patience when it comes to getting a response.
What do I say to them?
Just explain your situation and what you need help with and they move it forward.
You will also most likely have to show evidence of trying to follow the normal channels before your representative will help you. So keep a very clear record or emails and correspondence (e.g. IRS notices)
Given the backlog of other people they are likely helping and to ensure your case is truly an escalation and regular avenues have been exhausted.
It is also useful to write down and provide a detailed timeline of your attempts to resolve your issue with the relevant agency. Make sure not to leave anything out and why your payment is truly due to you.
Will this work?
While this won’t guarantee resolution of your issue, there is evidence that if your issue is legitimate, your Congress person can get things moving along towards a faster resolution.
After all it is in their best interest to keep their constituents happy of face losing their vote, and of those they influence, in the next election.
They have the right contacts and most agencies will respond to them because they know the issue has been vetted as you can see in the example below.
For example a reader said when they had an issue with their delayed IRS refund, they contacted their federal house members and got a letter from the IRS a few days later saying that their Congress person reached out to them (IRS), so were expediting resolution of their tax return processing.