Guest column: What the senator’s office can do for you

Published 8:45 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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Guest column by Amy Klobuchar

Minnesotans seek assistance from U.S. government agencies for a variety of reasons — whether it’s to get an answer about Social Security, access to veterans benefits or assistance with renewing a passport. But, too often, bureaucratic red tape gets in the way. That’s why our state office makes it a priority to cut through this red tape to get action and answers. Last year alone, our office assisted nearly 8,600 people with issues regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, passport applications and more.

Amy Klobuchar

When our seniors don’t receive their Social Security checks, our office steps in to correct the situation and make sure seniors get their hard-earned benefits. One Elk River resident recently reached out to our office about his Social Security payments. Despite paying into Social Security for three decades, he had trouble receiving his payments on time because he received disability benefits after a medical procedure early in his career. He deserved some financial security in his retirement, so we contacted the Social Security Administration on his behalf. As a result, he received his hard-earned benefits in full — because after a lifetime of hard work, Minnesotans deserve to retire with dignity.

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When Minnesota veterans are having trouble accessing their benefits, we work to cut through the layers of bureaucracy so our men and women who served get the support they need. For example, our office recently helped a veteran from Cloquet who struggled for years to get the oral surgery he needed through his Veterans Affairs health benefits. My team reached out to the VA’s Community Care system, and he finally got the care he needed. Or, a veteran’s daughter from Northwestern Minnesota noticed that her late father’s Bronze Star certificate misspelled his last name. She contacted the National Archives to fix this mistake and didn’t hear back after six months. Once my team stepped in, the Archives corrected the mistake, and the woman’s father’s grave marker now includes his Bronze Star with his name spelled correctly.

Our office can also break through inefficiencies that prevent Minnesotans from getting their tax refunds on time. In a number of cases, we have worked with small business owners to ensure they received the full amount of tax refunds they are owed, and we have also helped families resolve issues with the IRS.

For example, our office worked with a father in Moorhead who claimed a Child Tax Credit but never received it. After our office stepped in, he and his family got the payment they deserved.

Of course, Minnesotans aren’t only concerned about monetary benefits, and when their passport renewals get delayed or tangled up in red tape, we help them out. For instance, a Mora resident wanted to serve as a missionary to help Ukrainian refugees. She applied for a passport and was cleared to receive one, but it was lost in the mail on the way to her home. Our office got in touch with the passport agency and explained the situation, and they expedited a new passport for the woman so she could go abroad and serve. In fact, we opened and closed nearly 3,000 passport cases last year alone, giving thousands of Minnesotans the opportunity to make it to loved ones’ weddings, visit friends or family abroad, or even simply take a well-deserved vacation.

Our office appreciates every opportunity to assist a Minnesotan in need. If you need assistance navigating a problem with a federal agency, please call our office at (612) 727-5220 or visit for more information.

Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, is a U.S. senator.