WATERTOWN – In just under two years in office, Congressman Bill Owens has worked to secure $2,577,776.59 for those seeking help from his offices in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. When constituent concerns involve questions about legislation or policy, Owens’ office has responded to 34,705 pieces of correspondence in 2011 alone.
“Helping constituents navigate the federal bureaucracy is one of the most important things I can do to serve as an effective Member of Congress,” said Owens. “I am very pleased with the level of success we have seen in our ongoing fight to help Upstate New Yorkers receive money and benefits they are owed by the federal government.”
Owens’ office is equipped to help with problems Upstate New Yorkers are having with various federal agencies. Some successes include:
· Veterans Affairs: Owens’ office was successful in helping a surviving spouse of an American veteran in Fulton apply for the benefits due to her. Through 22 years of retroactive benefits that should have been awarded since 1989, the constituent will receive compensation in the amount of $430,043 in addition to $1,400 per month for life.
· Tax Credits: Owens’ office routinely works with constituents to find tax credits they are due. Through work with various agencies, Owens has been successful in securing tax incentives for constituents like the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit. Through this incentive, one couple in LeFargeville was able to collect $8,335.14 from the IRS.
· Social Security: Due to a bureaucratic technicality, SSI funds were being held up for one constituent living in Oswego. Through work with the constituent, Owens’ office was successful in getting $12,550 plus attorney fees expedited to the constituent.
· Internal Revenue Service: Sometimes, those who qualify for tax exempt status fall through the cracks at the IRS and are incorrectly hit with penalties. One man from Adams contacted Owens’ office on behalf of a local tax-exempt fire corporation that was being penalized for the late filing of a 990 form. Owens’ office worked with the constituent and was successful in getting the IRS to remove a penalty of $8,120 on the fire corporation.
· Additional agencies: Owens’ offices in Watertown, Oneida and Plattsburgh stand ready to assist residents of New York’s 23rd Congressional District with their problems beyond trying to collect back-benefits. A full list of casework services offered by Owens and his staff can be found in the constituent service section of his website.
Through his website, Owens also offers unique ways for constituents to interact with their Congressional office. At http://owens.house.gov, visitors can find unfilled jobs in the region, submit their ideas to the Deficit Reduction Committee, and report small business regulations they believe to be unnecessary.