SHERROD BROWN
Senator’s most important job is serving his constituents

March 11th, 2012    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Opinion

Sherrod Brown

Some of the most important work that I do has nothing to do with votes cast on the Senate floor.

As your senator, my most important job is serving you and helping constituents cut through red tape when dealing with the federal government. That means helping seniors access the Social Security benefits they have paid into, assisting veterans and their families in obtaining military records and medals that they earned but never received, and helping small businesses that are looking to create jobs and access federal tax credits or lending programs.

In more than 200 roundtables that I have held all over the state, I’ve heard from constituents who must spend hours on the telephone correcting a paperwork problem with a federal agency. They shouldn’t have to do this, and my office is here to help ease this burden.

That is why my offices located in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Lorain are open every business day to serve you. With field offices in every region of the state – including rural areas in Southeast and Northwest Ohio – my top priority is constituent services.

Ohioans in need of assistance can visit http://brown.senate.gov/ohio/constituent_services/ or call my office toll-free at 1-888-896-OHIO (6446).

Still wondering if we could help you? Let me provide a few recent examples of ways my constituent services team have assisted Ohioans.

A constituent from Southwest Ohio who was being denied Social Security benefits she earned recently contacted my office to try to resolve the issue with the Social Security Administration. She received a letter from SSA stating that her Social Security benefits had been terminated “as she requested” – but she had made no such request. The Ohioan was instructed to call again in 15 days, then in another 15 days, then in 48 hours. My office reached out to the SSA regional office to explain the problem. They found that nothing was in the record about her inquiry, and a change was made to ensure that she received the benefits she earned.

A widow of a soldier from Stow who was killed in Vietnam asked my office to help replace several medals she had lost in a move more than 30 years ago. My office discovered that in addition to the four medals identified, the widow’s husband was also eligible for a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and other awards for his bravery. As a proud member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, it is always a privilege for me to help veterans and military families obtain replacements for lost medals and new medals that servicemembers may have never received.

Earlier this month, a veteran was referred to my office after being denied dental care at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center even though he had service-connected disabilities. My office contacted the VA Medical Center Director who determined that an error had been made and our veteran was indeed eligible for dental care. The veteran was immediately scheduled for a comprehensive dental evaluation.

Veterans and military families – who often move from base to base – may not always have easy access to the documentation and records needed to receive service-related benefits and medals. Last year, my office helped more than 500 Ohio veterans and their families find these records so that they could apply for their medals or the benefits they earned.

Sometimes, there are Ohio companies who want to expand operations and hire new workers, but federal bureaucracy stands in their way. Cool Containers, LLC, a Marietta-based company, produces specialized containers used to ship high value pharmaceuticals and other temperature sensitive materials. This Ohio company struggled for years to secure approval from U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until my office intervened. With our help, the FAA approved the PharmaPort 360™ temperature controlled shipping container developed and manufactured by Cool Containers, LLC for use in commercial and military air transport. The FAA airworthiness certification follows over 1? years of formal testing and review of design, systems integration, manufacturing practices and documentation.

There is important work to do to improve the quality of life for Ohio seniors, veterans, families, and businesses. Legislation is a paramount aspect of that work, but members of Congress who are concerned about their neighbors do more that give speeches on the Senate floor.

One of my most important jobs as Senator is fulfilling constituent services—from helping Ohioans cut red tape to assisting with government resources. If you or your family needs assistance, please contact my office at 1-888-896-OHIO. It’s an honor to serve you.

Sherrod Brown is a United States Senator from Ohio.

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