Our Office Is Here to Help

Dear Iowan,

Our office is here to serve you. Whether it's help with accessing benefits you’ve earned or records of your military service, or getting in touch with an agency like the IRS or Social Security, my staff is here to ensure Iowans in the First District get what they need from the federal government as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

We’ve already assisted hundreds of Iowans — below you'll find some of their stories and the breadth of issues and services we’ve been able to help with.

 

Thank you,

 
Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer

Help with Unemployment Benefits - July, 2020

Amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, a hard-working Dubuque resident was laid off from one of his two jobs but denied an unemployment benefit claim on the lost job. He contacted our office for help and we asked Iowa Workforce Development to review his appeal. After our request, IWD reversed its initial decision and found unemployment benefits should be paid for the one job he lost. He will now receive about $5,000, including back pay.

Help with Unemployment Benefits - June, 2020 

A man from Northeast Iowa contacted our office because his unemployment benefit extension claim had gone unanswered. We reached out to Iowa Workforce Development for an update, and after a couple weeks of review the claim was approved. The man will receive benefits along with back pay.

Help with Multiple Agencies - June, 2020

A Waterloo-area small business owner was having trouble receiving Coronavirus assistance through the Small Business Administration. We connected her with a local bank, which was able to secure and distribute a Paycheck Protection Program loan of more than $6,000. In addition, we helped the business owner overcome several roadblocks related to unemployment benefits, and assisted with an unresolved income tax filing issue. With our help, the business owner provided updated information to the IRS and was approved for a tax refund of more than $3,000.

Help with Veterans Services - June, 2020

A veteran from Dubuque contacted our office about an identification card machine at an area Army Reserve center that had been broken for several years. The nearest functioning machines were in Madison, Wisc., and the Quad Cities — forcing thousands of active-duty, veteran and military family members to drive several hours just to obtain IDs. Our office inquired with Army officials — and kept inquiring for months — until this month we received word that the Dubuque center ID machine has been repaired.

Help with a Tax Refund - May, 2020

A hard-working woman from Marshalltown filed her 2019 tax return in February and expected the refund to come by early April. When that refund did not arrive as expected, she contacted our office to help find out what was wrong. Our staff worked with a taxpayer advocate and found the woman was missing a W-2 form from one of her three jobs. We were able to help pass the missing information along and help ensure the expected tax refund was paid.

Help with a Stimulus Payment for a Deceased Family Member - May, 2020

A local man received a Coronavirus economic impact payment for a deceased family member. Unsure what to do with the payment, he contacted our office for guidance. Our staff immediately contacted the Internal Revenue Service, which at the time had not yet issued guidance for this type of case. Weeks later, on the day the IRS released its guidance, our staff followed up with the man to provide instructions on what to do with the payment.

Help with the IRS - May, 2020 

A Waverly man incorrectly estimated his tax withholdings and ended up paying the state and federal government too much. He was able to correct the error with the State of Iowa and receive a refund, but his calls to the Internal Revenue Service did not get results. He contacted our staff, who immediately worked with the IRS to correct the problem, and within days he received a nearly $10,000 refund from the IRS.

Help with the IRS - April, 2020 

A local man needed to file his tax refund, but due to a dispute with his former employer, the W-2 form was not sent to him. He was able to file without the form, but then the refund was not released by the IRS. His wife was sick and out of work for a few weeks, and that meant reduced income for his family. He contacted our office and our staff worked with the taxpayer advocate to break down the roadblocks created by the former employer and ensure the deserved income tax refund was delivered.

Help with Filing for Medicare - April, 2020

A local woman needed help enrolling in Medicare. She and her husband contacted our office, and our staff was able to help them reschedule the enrollment interview and follow-up with additional information as they waited for the appointment. The couple credits our office’s work for providing peace of mind and as they completed the process.

Help with IRS - March, 2020

A single mom was still waiting for the IRS to pay her 2018 income tax refund as the 2019 tax filing deadline approached. Wondering why the IRS was almost a year late with her refund, she contacted our office for help. Our staff discovered that the IRS believed her employer had not paid its withholding taxes, causing a delay in her refund. That was not the case, however; the IRS simply could not find the information. With a push from our office, the company and the IRS worked to correct the problem, and the mom who contacted our office received her tax refund of nearly $6,000.

Help with Veterans Affairs - March, 2020

An Iowan contacted our office over difficulties receiving a $3,000 insurance reimbursement payment she believed she was owned by a third-party benefits provider that works with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The company initially provided several reasons why it should not have to provide the reimbursement, which was for prescription drug purchases, but our office confirmed that the patient’s paperwork was in order, and asked the company to review the case. Within a few days, the company acknowledged that the reimbursement was appropriate and deposited the payment in the patient’s account.

Help with Obtaining Service Medals - March, 2020

Our office worked with a Marine Corps Veteran from Waterloo who had never received his service medals. Because some of his records required additional verification, the VA had been unable to process the request for years. Our office was able to locate the information and help process the request, leading the VA to officially award him the medals. These included: the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation , Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorist Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Sharpshooter badge and Pistol expert badge.
Help with the State Department - February, 2020

Recently, a family from Dubuque faced a stressful situation abroad and called our office for help. They were in Europe with their baby daughter and learned that the baby would need a passport to get back into the country. Our office contacted the State Department to expedite the process and the passport was issued in time for the family to make their return flight. If you or anyone you know is experiencing problems with a federal agency, please call my office.

Help with the IRS - February, 2020 

A constituent from Waverly contacted our office because he had not received his federal income tax return.  He filed on time and the state return came within a few weeks, but the federal still had not. We contacted the IRS and learned there was a discrepancy with what he reported and what he could prove.  The IRS had not notified the Waverly constituent of the problem, but we were able to tell him how to fix the problem and file an amended report.  He has followed the steps and is expecting an $18,000 refund.  If you or anyone you know is having trouble with the IRS, Social Security, disability, or Medicare issue or a veteran needs help getting a medal or benefits, please contact our office.

Help with Social Security - February, 2020

An Iowan applied for Social Security retirement benefits while temporary living in Germany, and reached out to our office after the application was delayed for several months. Overseas claims are treated differently, but it shouldn’t have taken this long. Our office worked with the regional Social Security office here in Iowa, and within a few weeks secured approval on the claim so the constituent could safely plan for retirement. 

Help with Social Security - January, 2020

A gentleman in Waterloo stopped into our office because he has not received his Social Security payment for two months. He tried calling the Social Security Administration to figure out why his checks were being held up and was told he should see a direct deposit in a few days. When that didn't happen, he called back and was told the SSA had no record of him previously calling. Our office worked quickly to get to the bottom of this and found SSA's multiple attempts to send his checks caused the Treasury Department to put a hold on the account. Within two days of our office getting involved, our friend in Waterloo received both of the checks he had waited months for. If you or anyone you know is experiencing problems with a federal agency, please call my office.
Help with the IRS - January, 2020

A family in Cedar Rapids called our office seeking help with a long-delayed tax refund of more than $8,000. At issue was an accounting error that became more complicated when the family needed to submit additional verification. My office was able to get to the bottom of the situation with the IRS and get the family’s refund issued.
Help with Social Security - January, 2020

John, from Dubuque, reached out to my office last month after his bank account was unexpectedly debited for over one thousand dollars. This was due to a paperwork error in processing his Medicare premiums. John lives on a tight budget and a fixed income and suddenly found himself unable to pay bills or buy food. My office was able to work with the Social Security Administration to track down the mistake and get the funds back in John’s account. If you or anyone you know is experiencing problems with a federal agency, please call my office.