From Our Constituent Services Desk

Article 1: Federal Agencies

To obtain help with a federal agency, the Privacy Release Act of 1974 requires our office to have a completed and signed Privacy Release Form from an 11th District constituent directly affected by the agency. You may locate our Privacy Release and obtain additional information online. READ MORE

Article 2: HHS HRSA and FQHCs

Access to healthcare is a top concern for our constituents. A great option for those on a limited income or without health insurance is Federally Qualified Health Centers or FQHCs. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administrations (HRSA). READ MORE

Article 3: National Consumer Protection Week

Our office receives calls monthly from someone who has fallen victim to fraud, identity theft or a scam, such as threats of suspended Social Security benefits or being arrested by the IRS. Sadly, these scammers tend to target the elderly, but no one is immune. READ MORE 

Article 4: Social Security Disability

Not many things in life can be as stressful as an injury or illness preventing you from obtaining or maintaining gainful employment. Unfortunately, many face this dilemma and find themselves needing to file for Social Security Disability. READ MORE

Article 5: Medicare Intro 

While VA issues are our most often worked cases, Medicare comes in as a close second. There is a lot of confusion on the “what, when, why and how” of signing up for Medicare, and we hope in these next three weeks to answer some of your questions on this issue. READ MORE 

Article 6: Medicare 1

Our last article gave a brief overview of Medicare benefits. We continue this week with the related topic of Medicare penalties. To obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information on questions we are asked, we contacted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It can be challenging to know when you need to start benefits, and what coverage is best for you. A frequent question our office receives is regarding the 10% penalty that will occur for taking certain Medicare benefits late. Below is the CMS response we received on this issue. READ MORE

Article 7: Medicare 2

Why is my procedure/medication/durable medical equipment (DME) being denied by Medicare?

“Medicare may deny a claim for medical services, treatment, medication and/or DME for many reasons, including but not limited to not having Medicare coverage at the time of service, not meeting Medicare coverage criteria, untimely filing, etc. READ MORE 

Article 8: National Park Week 2019

The National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks since 1916. Their mission is to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” 1 Each April, the National Parks Service celebrates our Nation’s parks with National Park Week. This year it will be held from April 20 to 28 and includes National Junior Range Day and Entrance Fee-Free Day on April 20, Military and Veterans Recognition Day on April 21, and Bark Ranger Day on April 27. READ MORE 

Article 9: Tips for Traveling Abroad

Summer will be here before we know it, and with it will come family vacations. While some of us will enjoy our stay-cations and U.S. travels, many will travel abroad. Whether going in a group or alone, for business or pleasure, it’s always best to plan a few things ahead when traveling to a foreign country. READ MORE

Article 10: Elderly Caregiving 

Does it feel as if each year is shorter than the last? Relatively speaking, time seems to go by faster each year; and, with it, a myriad of new issues we never expected to deal with. Aging can be a very stressful process for many reasons. How will I pay for medicine? Who will take care of me if I become disabled? What resources are there for my caregiver? READ MORE

Article 11: Resources for SMVF

For many Service members, the hardest part of separating from the military is transitioning to civilian life. For some, military life is the only life they’ve known, and this transition can prove stressful to the Service member and their family. Even with today’s technology, it can be overwhelming to locate the right assistance. Below are some really great all-inclusive resources for Service members, Veterans, and their families. READ MORE

Article 11a: Resources for SMVF for Veterans Day

In honor of our Veterans, their Families, Caregivers, and Survivors we would like to provide the following #VetResources. READ MORE

Article 12: VISA Waiver program and travel assistance info

We are in the midst of the summer travel season, so we wanted to share information regarding the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. This program is beneficial for U.S. Citizens traveling overseas, and for visitors to the U.S. The Visa Waiver Program falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, and is an agreement between thirty-eight (38) countries, allowing citizens entry for up to 90 days. The list of countries included in this program can be found online at Visa Waiver Program Requirements. READ MORE

Article 13: National PTSD Awarness Day

National PTSD Awareness Day is June 27; and, if you or a loved one has ever served in the military, you likely know someone with PTSD. It’s quite possible you are suffering from PTSD, but may be afraid to say anything. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) first came to the forefront of America in the 1980s when the American Psychiatric Association added this health issue to its diagnostic manual of mental disorders. However, PTSD has actually been in existence since almost the beginning of time. You may have heard of it as shell shock, soldier’s heart, combat fatigue, or war neurosis. READ MORE

Article 14: Military Retirement Issues

Just as with everything else in the military, preparation is the key to a smooth retirement. There are some really great resources and the number one piece of advice is to start planning early! Don’t wait until your retirement month to begin preparing; start now even if you just enlisted. Here are some resources to help you get started. READ MORE

Article 15: Military Records Request

The National Archives was established in 1935 and is the official depository of records for military personnel in the U.S. Air Force (before 9/30/2004), Army (before 9/30/2006), Navy (before 12/31/2004), Marines (before 12/31/1998) and Coast Guard (before 9/30/2006)1. More recent records are held by each branch of service. Depending on dates of service, the records could be held in the National Archives Building in Washington D.C. or the more well-known National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This information can be very useful to Veterans, especially in supporting claims for benefits or services. READ MORE

Article 16: Student Loan Information

Sometimes, due to unforeseen major life events, it can be difficult to keep up with student loan payments. During those times, there are some avenues that may temporarily lessen your financial burden and risk of default. According to the U.S. Department of Education. READ MORE

Article 17: Mental Health Awareness

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, mental health can be defined as: The condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life. READ MORE

Article 18: My Money

In 2011, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) developed a strategy to promote financial literacy and education. As a part of that strategy, they created the MyMoney.gov website. READ MORE

Article 19: Federal Retirement OPM

Georgia’s 11th Congressional District is home to a large number of federal employees. At times, we receive inquiries about a federal employee’s retirement/disability retirement process. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) oversees federal employee issues and offers extensive information for those starting the retirement process. READ MORE

Article 20: Send a Message. Stay Drug Free. Red Ribbon Week 2019

In 1980, the National Family Partnership (NFP), formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, was established. Starting as a grassroots, non-profit dedicated to drug prevention among our youth, they have become a leader in drug prevention education & advocacy. READ MORE

Article 21: Federal Employment Tips

Our office receives several requests each year to assist in finding a job with a federal agency, and we are happy to offer advice on where to look for information on the process. READ MORE

Article 22: Holiday Travel Tips

With the holidays just around the corner, a lot of us will be traveling. Whether on vacation alone, or to visit family and friends, there will be an estimated 46 million people traveling this holiday season. Here are a few tips to help ease some of the stresses that come with traveling. READ MORE

Article 23: Tax Prep for 2019 Tax Filing

As 2019 comes to a close, it is a good time to plan for the upcoming tax season. April 15, 2020, will be here before we know it, and a little preparation now can hopefully make that time less stressful. The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging people to visit their updated Get Ready page on IRS.gov. READ MORE

Article 24: IRS Tax Filing for 2020

It’s that time of year again; time to gather the information to file your taxes. Tax season officially opened January 27, 2020, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepting and processing federal returns. To help avoid identity theft, it’s best to file as early as possible. READ MORE