Weekly Column: Need Help With a Federal Agency? Give us a Call
In the United States Senate, much of our time is focused on crafting and debating legislation, attending committee meetings and making sure federal policies are working for South Dakota families. But we also spend a great deal of time helping South Dakotans who are having difficulties dealing with a federal agency. It is a lesser-known but equally-important service that allows us to act as a liaison between you and the federal government. Washington is so broken and our federal bureaucracy has grown so large that individual needs of American citizens are too often lost in a sea of red tape. Our goal is to work with federal agencies to identify your issue and fix it.
Over the past two years, working with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on behalf of South Dakota veterans has been the most common situation we’re asked to help with. We have assisted countless South Dakota veterans navigate the Veterans Choice Act and other VA programs here in South Dakota, while simultaneously seeking changes to federal policy that will improve the care they receive under the current law. We also work frequently with the VA to obtain overdue medals and awards for veterans and their families. I have been able to present a few of those medals to South Dakota veterans firsthand as I’ve traveled around the state. It is a very special honor to recognize these vets, with their family and friends in attendance, and say thank you to them for their service to our country.
In addition to helping veterans get the benefits and services they have been promised, we have also been able to bring families together by helping individuals get visas or expedited passports. We also help people access social security benefits, file tax returns, work with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and make sure that federal agencies are treating citizens fairly and with the respect and attention they deserve. I am very proud of the work we are doing to help South Dakotans who feel like they have been left behind by the federal government and have nowhere else to turn.
Our South Dakota offices are located in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City and Aberdeen. Our staff members who handle casework are available every week day, either in person, by phone or by email. You can find the contact information for our offices on my website, www.rounds.senate.gov. My team works closely together across the state and in Washington, and we strive to provide a timely response to everyone who contacts us, particularly if it is an urgent matter in which we are able to intervene.
We take our work on behalf of South Dakotans very seriously, and I am pleased that we’ve been able to help so many constituents already since setting up our office two years ago. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing difficulty dealing with a federal agency. We are here to help.