Helping South Dakotans Navigate the Federal Bureaucracy
While I spend much of my time working on legislation, attending committee hearings and voting on the Senate floor, a lesser known but equally as important role of my job is helping South Dakotans when they’re having problems with a federal agency. Congressional offices refer to this as “casework,” and it’s actually the main focus in my state offices, located in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City. My staff members who work in these offices are specially trained to act as liaisons between constituents and federal agencies to help fix problems South Dakotans may be having.
We frequently work on casework related to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, Social Security, the IRS, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, just to name a few. A couple of examples of casework we’ve worked on this year include helping veterans’ access benefits and medals due to them, helping an adopted individual go through the process to become an American citizen and assisting numerous South Dakotans receive their correct payments through the Social Security Administration. We helped a South Dakotan file his tax return when the IRS notified him—wrongly—that he was deceased. The constituent was ultimately able to file his tax return and the IRS paid him back his refund plus interest. We also frequently work with the State Department to fast-track passports for constituents.
Over the past four-and-a-half years, we’ve had hundreds of casework success stories. We’ll be sharing them over the coming months, so South Dakotans can see that no matter what their problem is, we’ve likely already handled something similar and will work to find a solution for them.
If you’re having some trouble with a federal agency, I encourage you to reach out to us. It’s very likely that we have dealt with a similar problem before and know the best route to attempt to get it fixed for you. We are here to help you, so even if you just have a simple question, don’t hesitate to contact us. Office phone numbers and locations can be found on my website, www.rounds.senate.gov. Appointments are not necessary—feel free to just walk in and a team member will be able to meet with you during normal business hours. You can also send us an email through my website if that is easier for you.
For South Dakotans who do not live near one of our offices, we regularly hold “mobile office hours” in communities across the state. These provide residents with an opportunity to sit down with my team and get assistance if they need it. I post in advance where we’ll be for mobile office hours on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SenatorMikeRounds, but also check your local newspaper, as we notify them as well. It is our goal to be easily available to all South Dakotans.
Cutting through the red-tape of a government agency can be confusing, frustrating and time-consuming, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. No matter how big or small your problem may be, we are here to help you cut through the red tape.