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 secure or recover more than $18 million in benefits that had been delayed or previously denied, including over $16 million in COVID-19 relief.
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.
John Albanese, Staten Island:
John lost his job in mid-March, but because he lives in New York but works in New Jersey, he was getting the runaround when he tried to apply for unemployment. His employers told him to file in New Jersey, and New Jersey told him he had to file in New York. But when he tried to file on New York’s system, it wouldn’t let him complete the application because he worked in New Jersey. In the three weeks he was caught in this limbo, John was draining his savings to pay for his mortgage, food, and other bills. After he contacted Rose’s office on a Sunday in April, Rose’s team helped him finalize his application and by that Wednesday he heard back from the Department of Labor and his funds were disbursed.
Shahnoza Zhumanova, Brooklyn:
Shahnoza had been visiting family in Tajikistan since late March when the country closed its borders due to the coronavirus. She spent a month reaching out to airlines, the U.S. embassy and other local resources trying to find a way home, but with no success. Finally, at the end of April, she contacted Rose’s office, which worked with the State Department’s Coronavirus Task Force to book her a flight back home, where she arrived safely in early May.
The Seton Foundation for Learning, Staten Island:
This school for children with learning disabilities was having trouble submitting their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan application because their bank had halted processing of applications as the program’s funding ran out. After Congress renewed funding for the program, Rose’s office was able to work with the Foundation to have their application quickly submitted, and within two days their loan was approved and the funds were transferred to their account.
Caryl Klein, Brooklyn:
Caryl had been scammed into giving her Social Security Number to someone on the phone who she thought was Medicare calling her. The Social Security Administration suspected fraud and wouldn't let her apply for Social Security benefits. Rose’s office reached out to the Social Security Administration on Caryl’s behalf and cut through the red tape to help her complete her application and receive her benefits.
Elaine Gil, Staten Island:
Elaine was stuck in Cameroon where she had been volunteering with a charity in a remote African village. Rose’s office was made aware of the situation and got to work trying to get her on a flight back. Since the U.S. Embassy had already conducted three repatriation flights, it was not scheduling another one anytime soon. Rose’s team was able to work with the State Department’s Coronavirus Task Force to secure a loan from the US Embassy for Elaine to help cover the cost of her lodging in Cameroon while she awaited a flight. In just over a week from when we received her case, Rose’s team was able to help secure a seat for Elaine on a Paris-bound flight for Canadian citizens, and then a connecting flight to New York.
Linda and Julio Rosario, Staten Island
Julio Rosario had lost his job in mid-March and for months he wasn’t able to get in touch with anyone from the NY Department of Labor to correct an error which caused his payments to be sent to the incorrect address. Due to the error, the Rosario family was suffering needlessly and it became difficult for the family to pay their bills. After the Rosario’s contacted Rose’s office in July, in five business days our office was able to work with the Department of Labor to fix the error and secure over $10,000 in back-pay Mr. Rosario was entitled to from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Bertha and Alex Medina, Staten Island:
Mrs. Medina’s son, Alex, is 30 years and Autistic. After living for approximately one year in a New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities residential home, his family removed him after there was an incident of abuse. Despite Mrs. Medina signing several transfer papers, OPWDD did not change over his Social Security. This error led to Alex’s Social Security and Medicare benefits being cancelled and the Social Security Administration to demand backpay from Mrs. Medina, despite her already spending thousands for Alex’s medication. After Mrs. Medina reach out to Rose’s office, we were able to quickly determine the error in Alex’s case and worked to resolved it within a few weeks.
Gina Pignatelli, Brooklyn:
Ms. Pignatelli is a small business owner who had only been open for 6 months before the pandemic hit and she was forced to close down. After being unable to secure federal relief or Unemployment Insurance, and facing demands for rent payments, Ms. Pignatelli contacted Rose’s office for assistance. Rose’s office was able to help her secure Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, including backpay, and connect her with a local nonprofit to get an abatement on her rent.
Ibrahim Anse, Staten Island:
Mr. Anse, his wife and three children went to go see their family in Yemen after nine years. Mr. Anse then travelled to Saudi Arabia on March 1, 2020 for a business conference but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his return flight to the U.S. was canceled. Mr. Anse then contacted Rose’s office in late May in an attempt get his family from Yemen to Saudi Arabia, and coordinate a flight back to the U.S. Rose’s office worked with the U.S. Department of State Coronavirus Taskforce to assist Mr. Anse’s family, including advocating for further evacuation flights for the Anse family and other Yemeni-Americans. They all finally returned safely to the United States in July.
Anthony A., Staten Island:
“Rep. Max Rose’s office was able to contact SSDI on my behalf and finally find out what was going on with my disability benefits. They reached out to the payment center and was able to confirm I was to receive almost $64,000 in disability back pay. I am very satisfied with their work.”
Murray Tawil, Brooklyn:
“After applying for pandemic unemployment assistance, I heard nothing back from the DOL. They were completely unreachable by phone or email. Weeks went by and I had lost hope. Thankfully, I was recommended to contact Rep. Max Rose. His amazing office helped me recover those benefits in a matter of days! Without them, I don't even want to think of where I would be right now.”
Dhvanil Shah, Staten Island:
“I simply want to thank Congressman Rose and his team once more for all your help. Last year around this time, your office helped me expedite my change of status form so that I could begin my final year of engineering at The Cooper Union on time. Thank you once again for all your help. Thanks to the efforts of you and your team last summer, I was able to start my program on time and make this past year one of the best years of my academic career. I am eternally grateful for your help last summer because without your efforts this would not have been possible.”