Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I receive congressional assistance with a federal agency?
    Once you have contacted one of my district offices concerning a federal agency, appropriate assistance can then be determined.  If needed, you will be provided with a Privacy Release form.  Please complete the form and attach any current documentation and case/claim numbers you can provide. When the Privacy Release form is returned, a member of my staff will contact the federal agency on your behalf.  A response should be received from the agency within 30-45 days. This is a standard guideline and may vary for each individual case.  Once an agency response is received, my office will notify you by telephone or letter.  If you have an ongoing claim, further information may be requested from the agency about your situation.
  2. What is a Privacy Release form?
    A Privacy Release form gives members of my casework staff and me permission to contact the agency in question on a constituent’s behalf.  The Privacy Act of 1974 mandates I have written permission before an inquiry be made. The Privacy Release form allows an individual to provide detailed case history and specific actions desired from the Federal Agency, as well as any identification numbers and copies of documents which support their claim.  I must have a signature to be able to request information regarding a specific case. All information provided to my office or me is confidential.
  3. Can Congressman Graves overturn a decision made by a Federal Agency?
    While I will do my best to assist you, as a Member of Congress, I do not have the authority to instruct a federal agency to approve or deny an application or claim.  However, I am happy to forward any information to the appropriate sources for consideration during the review process. Each claim or case is decided on its own merits and according to applicable law.
  4. Can Congressman Graves expedite an application?
    While I can obtain information regarding the status of a constituent's application or claim, I cannot order an agency to move one person's application ahead of others who also have been waiting.  In certain emergency circumstances, I can and will ask for an expedited consideration.
  5. Can Congressman Graves provide me with any legal assistance?
    According to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, I cannot act as an attorney or offer legal assistance or advice in any way.  I can provide you with information concerning attorney referral services.
  6. What jurisdiction does Congressman Graves have over departments of the State of Missouri?
    My jurisdiction as a United States Congressman only includes the federal government and does not extend to programs and other matters governed by the State of Missouri.  Questions concerning departments of the State of Missouri should be directed to your State Representative and State Senator or the Governor.  Locate your Missouri Elected Officials
  7. Which problems can you help with?
    The following are examples of problems or questions with which I can help.

    Social Security


Internal Revenue Service

  • Assistance in getting your tax refund in certain cases
  • Assistance with Earned Income Credit
  • Assistance in working out a payment plan
  • Taxpayer Advocate Service

Veterans Affairs

  • Eligibility for a home loan or education benefits
  • Status of a claim for benefits
  • Eligibility for hospital and nursing home care
  • TriWest

Immigration and Naturalization (USCIS)


  • Eligibility
  • Explanation of benefit forms
  • How and where to correctly file claims
  • Missouri Rx


  • Where to obtain applications/Where to apply
  • What documents are required
  • How to expedite a passport