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Help With a Federal Agency


One of the most important things I do as your Representative is to help with federal agency issues. Although my office cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, we can inquire on a constituent’s behalf to get questions answered, find solutions or just cut through the red tape. 

Regardless of which federal agency you need help with, my office will need a completed Privacy Release Form.

By electronically completing and signing the form, you grant us permission to contact the appropriate federal agency on your behalf in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a). Please note that you should receive a confirmation email if your form was successfully submitted. If you don’t receive a confirmation email, you should contact our office. 

If you are unable to submit a Privacy Release Form electronically, please contact our office and a member of staff will assist you.

Once we receive your Privacy Release Form, a member of my casework team will contact you directly. At that time, you will receive an estimated timeline for resolving your case.

Please see below for answers to some frequently asked questions and agency-specific information to include in your form.

Agency-Specific Information

Passport Agencies

Please provide us with the following information on the Privacy Release Form:

  • Date of travel
  • Planned destination
  • Reason for travel (tourism, visiting family, business, etc.)
  • Last four digits of Social Security Number
  • Application locator number (if known)
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of travel

If you are submitting a Privacy Release Form on behalf of your minor child, please fill out the form in their name and with their information. We also ask that you provide your name and state your relationship to the minor child in the description box to let us know that you are submitting the form on your child’s behalf.

Please also note that, due to the high volume of inquiries all passport agencies are receiving, they are currently processing inquiries by travel date and are prioritizing inquiries for travel within 72 hours. As such, we are unable to send inquiries until two weeks before a constituent’s travel date.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

For help with a tax refund, please specify the tax year(s) you need help with, the filing date, and whether you filed electronically or by mail. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Please provide us with the following information:

  • Form number
  • Application receipt number
  • Receipt date (please note that this is different from a priority date)
  • The service center or field office where your case is currently located
  • A copy of your original receipt, if possible 

If you’re unsure where to find this information on your receipt, please see the USCIS guide here.

Please note that we cannot contact USCIS for a status update if your application is within processing time, unless your case falls under one of USCIS’s expedite criteria. In that case, we will ask you to provide documents that support your need for expedited processing. We will always do our best to get your application considered as quickly as possible, but please note that USCIS decisions about whether a case qualifies for expedited processing are final. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you may want to seek assistance from a representative authorized by USCIS and the Department of Justice.

For USCIS cases, the privacy release form must be signed by the Petitioner, not the Beneficiary. If your receipt number begins with IOE, please provide us with the service center where your case is currently located in the description box. This can be found on the bottom, left-hand corner of your latest receipt notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can congressional caseworkers help me with?

Congressional caseworkers can help you resolve issues that involve federal agencies. Our main role is to act as a liaison between you and a federal agency by contacting them on your behalf. 

If an agency isn’t responding to you, we can help you get answers. Or if an agency made a mistake, such as miscalculating your stimulus payment or Social Security benefits, we can help correct it.

A full list of federal agencies can be found here

What information should I include when describing my problem?

Please describe what happened, as well as the outcome you hope to achieve. If possible, please provide a brief timeline of your experience with the federal agency and any relevant case numbers. For issues involving a passport agency, the Internal Revenue Services, the Small Business Administration, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, please see below for additional agency-specific information to include. 

Can you ask a federal agency to change their decision?

Our casework team can help you obtain fair and timely resolutions to matters involving federal agencies. We specialize in cutting through red tape and helping you get answers when an agency is unresponsive. Once an agency makes a final determination, however, we must defer to their judgment. At that point, you may want to seek legal advice or assistance from an organization authorized by the federal government. 

Can you provide legal advice or help me find a lawyer?

Sometimes federal agency issues require the assistance of counsel, but as congressional caseworkers, we are restricted from providing legal advice or referring you to any specific attorney or law firm. For help finding legal assistance, you can contact the Pennsylvania State Bar at (800)-932-0311 or visit their website HERE. For legal assistance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), please visit their website HERE

Can you help me with a state agency?

Since Congressman Cartwright serves on the federal level, our casework team is only able to assist constituents with federal agencies. For issues involving a state agency, we recommend that you contact your state representative because they represent you on the state level and can assist you more directly than we can. If you need assistance contacting your state representative, please feel free to call our office at (570)-341-1050. We work closely with state and local government offices and we are always happy to help you get in touch with the best person to help.