Constituent Services Success Stories
Dealing with large federal government agencies can be confusing and frustrating. If you are a New Jersey resident and have questions about government programs, need help with a benefit application you have submitted, or have a problem, Bob’s dedicated staff of constituent service representatives stand ready to help in any way we can. If we are unable to directly intervene on your case or answer your question, we will do our best to put you in touch with someone who can.
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Below are a few success stories, which these constituents have given us permission to share. We would not share your story unless you gave us explicit permission.
Ron and Regina Devos
Ron was a veteran living at a homeless shelter and was trying to find housing. Ron had applied for Veterans Housing in Emerson, but had not heard back as to what was taking so long. Our office was able to cut through the red tape and Ron has since been living in Emerson. Ron’s wife wrote to one of Menendez's staffers, “Ron is so glad that he met you and that you became our advocate. We hope that there will be more housing for veterans, and also more affordable housing for even non-veterans. You are a credit to Senator Menendez.”
Egg Harbor City
Nina contacted our office regarding a Kidney transplant surgery that she needed to have. She found a perfect match in her mother Nana Gulua. The only problem was that Ms. Gulua lived in the Republic of Georgia. The family applied for a visa multiple times but they were repeatedly rejected by the State Department. Saria eventually contacted Menendez's office and we were able to reach out Citizenship and Immigration Services, and get Ms. Gulua a Visa for humanitarian parole by the US Department of Homeland Security, a status that allows foreigners to enter the US under emergency circumstances. Only one out every four people who apply for this status receive it. The surgery was a success on December 1, 2016.
Richard contacted Menendez's office regarding his brother who died as a prisoner of war in a German prison in WWII. Our office contacted the Department of the Army, Awards and Decorations Branch and they verified that First Class James Sucato was entitled to the Prisoner of War Medal. Richard said “I am truly grateful to receive it in memory of my brother James Sucato who died as a result of the horrible conditions he had endured as a German prisoner of war. The medal is something I will cherish forever as a remembrance of my brother and the supreme sacrifice he made for our county and freedom."
John and Carmen Estevez
John contacted our office because his sister with special needs lives in Elizabeth, and her home was going into foreclosure. The Menendez team worked on this case with Wells Fargo for over 3 years. We were able to get an affordable home modification so that they could pay their mortgage and keep their home. The modification went from a couple thousand dollars to 785 dollars.
Estela Frint contacted our office regarding her home that was in foreclosure with a bank called PennyMac. Estela’s husband had a stroke and they had a mountain of bills from the hospital. Estella owed $243,324.48 for her home. We were able to get her approved for a Home Affordable modification streamline program trial payment plan where she would pay $3,278.06 a month for three months and once that was completed she would be approved for a permanent modification. We also contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because Ms. Frints original interest rate was 9.125% but we were able to get it lowered to 3.125%
Alaina Jacobson contacted Menendez's office in January. Her problem is that she has been under the care of pain management doctors for approximately 20 years due to multiple issues. Because of the new CDC guidelines and state law, most of these pain management doctors have stopped treating patients because if they overprescribe they could end up in jail. Alaina told us that her insurance company gave her a list of doctors. However, after calling 80 of them, none of them could help her. Her issue was twofold. She needed the medication or to be weaned off of it and if she doesn’t have a doctor she won’t be able to get her social security forms filled out which need to be filled out yearly, which will leave her with zero income. We contacted the board of medical examiners in the state of NJ. They told her that there are hundreds of people in the same situation as Alaina. They also recommended that she reach out to Rowan University. Menendez's office contacted Rowan and they were able to make arrangements to have a doctor see her. She is happy with the doctor and once her medication gets under control she will only have to see the doctor every two months.
Mr. Menella contacted our office with an issue regarding the Office of Personnel Management. Mr. Menella was a border patrol agent and his disability retirement was approved in August of 2015. Mr. Menella left dozens of voicemails with the government regarding his annuity with no response. As soon as Senator Menendez sent in a congressional inquiry, Mr. Menella was given $23,000 in retroactive payment.
Daryl contacted us regarding his nephew, Braxton. He is a 19 year old with autism that was stranded in Cancun, Mexico, with his mother and father. They all went on a trip to Mexico for two weeks. At the end of the vacation they were unable to put Braxton on a flight back home. He had severe anxiety and couldn’t board the plane. He weighed over 350 pounds so it was very hard to get him on the plane. They had to find another hotel to stay in because the hotel they were staying at was booked. They were spending a lot of money on food while waiting for a way to get Braxton back to the US. Menendez's office contacted the State Department and they recommended an airline to fly him back. Then there was an issue with insurance not paying for it. Even though two doctors said he couldn’t go on a commercial airline. We called the insurance company, but unfortunately the company kept denying payment for the flight. So our office worked with the airlines to make arrangements to fly Braxton back to the US and reunite him with his family. The family stated that they were happy to make a public statement because Menendez's office was in touch with them every day, got the family a contact person at the State Department, and ultimately was insurumental in the return of their son. The family remains in touch with the Office of Senator Menendez and gives us updates on Braxton and we continue to work with family regarding his needs with developmental disabilities in the state.
VA Non Service Connected Pension
Vincent, Primo’s son, contacted us regarding his father, Primo. He had been trying to work with the VA for over a year. Mr. Ottino was in assisted living and the son was paying $5,055 a month out-of-pocket for this. We were able to work with Vincent and the VA to make sure that the proper information was sent over to the VA. The VA was able to expedite his claim because of Menendez's intervention. Primo was awarded $19,000 in back pay. Before our office intervened, the VA was only going to give him a couple hundred dollars a month. Mr. Ottino was able to obtain the pension that he needed with the help of Senator Menendez.
Ronni and Christopher Frey
Ronni Frey contacted Menendez's office because she and her husband owned a small business in NJ for over 21 years. They import food and pharmaceutical ingredients from India, and resell them to US distributors and end-users. They were having two major issues with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The generalized system of preference (GSP) was renewed and signed into effect on June 29, 2015. Their NJ company was due to receive over $120,000 in GSP refunds which they needed for their business. They felt that their entries had been suspended unfairly by CBP and as a result of unfounded and unsubstatiated anti-dumping allegations, the company was still owed $110,000. The second issue was they were being investigated for importing goods from the People’s Republic of China, rather than India. They presented all the evidence to CBP that it was definitely an India export and its supplier in India. There was no evidence to suggest that the country of origin wasn’t India. CBP continued to investigate, but once we contacted CBP, we were able to provide them the documentation and CBP released the money owed to them ($110,000).
Department of Labor
Savanah Cooper contacted our office regarding her deceased husband’s pension. Her husband worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb for 10 years. She had been trying to receive his pension for 10 + years. Menendez's office was able to reach Bristol-Myers Squibb, and get her the option of a onetime lump sum of $16,000 or $105 a month for the rest of her life. She opted to take the lump sum.