Helping Iowans Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
There's no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in profound ways.
But throughout this crisis, my office is committed to doing everything we can to answer questions, access aid and help our fellow Iowans through this challenging time.
Below you'll find some of the stories of Iowans we’ve helped.
Help with the VA
A veteran named James called our office asking for assistance with obtaining VA benefits during the pandemic. He was initially told he would have to see various VA doctors for tests and consultations to determine his eligibility — requiring him to visit clinics and potentially exposing him to coronavirus. With help from our office, the VA agreed to accept James’ previously completed medical tests, allowing him to obtain benefits without risking exposure to COVID-19.
A constituent called our office after his son and family were stuck on an overseas vacation due to the coronavirus. Our office helped the family register with the State Department's STEP program and contacted Overseas Citizen Services on their behalf. We identified one domestic airline still flying to the region and helped the family find new travel options. They were able to return home to Iowa a few days later.
A constituent named Courtney called our office after her employer closed due to COVID-19. Because she had been on the job less than 90 days, we advised her to file an unemployment claim with her previous employer and then connected her and her employer with Iowa Workforce Development.
A substitute teacher contacted us because she was worried she wouldn't get unemployment. Our office connected her with Iowa Workforce Development, which provided additional information for substitute teachers and encouraged her to apply for benefits.
A constituent who works as a healthcare provider in Dubuque was told she would have to come to work every day because she didn't have the proper codes to bill the patients for teleservices. Our office was able to provide the codes from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services so that she and the other practitioners could work from home as much as possible during the outbreak.
A constituent called our office after she was laid off from her job due to coronavirus in March — the same month her roommate moved out, leaving her responsible for the full month’s rent. She hadn't received her tax refund or her stimulus check and was unable to get additional information from the IRS. Our office worked with the IRS to remove the delay on her refund and determine when her stimulus check would arrive. The stimulus came quickly and provided much-needed relief.
Two constituents contacted our office after losing jobs in the food industry due to coronavirus. They were expecting a 2019 tax refund around $5,000 but hadn't received it. We helped identify the hang-up with the IRS, and explained the necessary steps to correct it. The refund arrived a short time later, helping relieve their financial stress.
In March, we assisted two constituents get home from Honduras after flights were cancelled due to the pandemic. In each case, our office helped the constituents register for the State Department’s STEP Program so the U.S. Embassy would be able to get messages to them, and then contacted Overseas Citizen Services. We learned from OCS about an upcoming flight from Honduras, and passed the information along to the constituents, allowing both of them to travel home safely.
We also assisted constituents stranded on the island of St. Martin, enrolling them in the STEP program and alerting Overseas Citizens Services. Our office stayed in touch with each constituent until they were able to book flights home and return to Iowa.