One of the best parts of this job is when we can help a constituent break through bureaucratic red tape and get results. In 2019 alone, we’ve helped recover more than $1.2 million in benefits that had been delayed or previously denied.
Here’s some examples of what we’ve gotten done for constituents. If you or anyone you know is having trouble with a federal agency, from Social Security, Medicare, the VA, immigration, or anywhere in between, please reach out. We’re here to help.
John Moss, Staten Island:
Disabled Army veteran John Moss had been attempting to receive “full unemployability” status and benefits since 2017. During the dispute, he fell behind in his mortgage and other bills all while battling medical issues. Within weeks of reaching out to our office, we were able to secure his full unemployability status and the benefits he deserved and to which he was entitled. Mr. Moss was quoted as saying, “I shouldn’t have had to go through any of that. Everything was service-related and they had all of the information that they needed.”
Mohamed Alahiry, Brooklyn:
Fourth-generation Brooklyn bodega owner Mohamad Alahiry, a United States citizen and father to four American daughters, spent years unsuccessfully trying to obtain a visa for his Yemeni wife, but was being held up by bureaucratic delays and the Travel Ban. Mr. Alahiry asked our office for assistance in expediting the case as he and his wife were dealing with medical issues following a car accident which resulted in severe injuries and financial strain. Following advocacy at all levels of our office to the State Department, we were able to help expedite the visa review process, secure a waiver Travel Ban and a visa allowing Mrs. Alahiry to travel to the United States and reunite with her family in safety.
Michael Spatola, Staten Island:
A Staten Island resident who was the chief building engineer at 250 Broadway in New York City during 9/11, Michael Spatola contracted a number of ailments due to exposure to the toxic fumes from that day. Mr. Spatola first applied to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund in February of 2015 but his claim was put on hold and his compensation was delayed for over four years. After Mr. Spatola reached out to our office, we requested the Department of Justice and the Victim Compensation Fund have his claim expedited. Weeks later, Mr. Spatola was notified that his claim was approved and he was awarded the full compensation he deserved.
Roberta Nadel, Brooklyn:
A senior citizen from Gravesend, Roberta Nadel had her bank account drained by a home aid. Because of health issues and other difficulties, Ms. Nadel was unable to report the theft to the bank within the window of time necessary. As a result, the bank initially refused to reimburse Ms. Nadel for her loss. After the Congressman’s office reached out to the bank on her behalf to request the bank expedite the review of her claim and offer leniency regarding her late notification, the stolen money was returned to Ms. Nadel's account.
Keith Schafer, Staten Island
Keith Schafer, a Marine veteran from Staten Island, has been receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). He was then notified that he incurred an $18,000 debt because the VA did not receive paper confirmation of a change in dependent status, even though they did receive it electronically. After the Congressman brought this bureaucratic mix-up to the attention of the VA during a recent oversight hearing, the VA decided to refund a portion of Schafer’s debt and waive the remainder.
Althary Family, Brooklyn
The Althary family has a fifteen-year-old high school student who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Due to the variety of complications that accompanied this diagnosis, the student and her family wanted her to attend a school closer to their home, but their request for a transfer was denied by the Family Welcome Center. Facing the possibility that they’d be forced to homeschool their daughter, the Althary’s reached out to our office for help. Within a month, our office was able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and appeal to the Superintendent of the district who pledged to support the transfer. A few hours later, Aseel’s transfer was approved.
Marion Grefstad, Brooklyn:
After Marion’s late husband passed this last January, Marion struggled to make ends meet without the additional Social Security benefits. Marion came to Rose’s office to seek assistance in applying for Social Security survivors’ benefits. In less than two weeks, Rose’s office not only got Marion $9,603 in backpay, but was able to get her approved for survivors’ benefits and increase her monthly benefits by almost $1,000.
Andrew Carnegie, Staten Island:
Andrew, an 81 year-old veteran living with his disabled son, was victim to a years-long financial exploitation scheme where his Social Security checks were being sent to scammers posing as government officials. This resulted in him not having the funds to pay for the flood insurance under his reverse mortgage plan, and was thus at risk of losing his home and Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) award worth $43,000. After he reached out, Rose’s office was able to get his interviews expedited and fight for him through the process which resulted in him receiving a One Shot Deal check for $2,826, allowing him to stay in his home and keep the $43,000 MAP award.