One of the most important things I do as a U.S. Representative is help constituents with problems that they may encounter with federal government agencies, such as the V.A., Social Security Administration, or Passport Services.
Eligibility for Assistance
1. Do you reside in Ohio's Second Congressional District. If you're unsure, you can check by entering your zip code here.
2. Does your issue involve a federal agency? You can view a list of federal agencies here.
3. Have you filled out a privacy release form? The Privacy Act of 1974 states that all Members of Congress must have written and signed permission from a constituent before intervening on his/her behalf. You can access the privacy release form here or you can call my district office at (513) 474-7777 to request a form via mail. Please note that the form must be signed by the individual who is seeking assistance, not a relative or friend.
What You Can Expect
Although I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene to ask questions, find solutions or just cut through the red tape. My staff and I will do our best to ensure a fair and timely review of your case. As we work to address your concerns, please bear in mind that we cannot force an agency to expedite your case or to act in your favor.
Additionally, by law, we cannot become involved in court cases or any legal matters.
Which agency do you need help with?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a privacy release form and why is it required?
Under the Privacy Act of 1974, federal agencies require a Member of Congress to have a written and signed letter before intervening on a constituent's behalf. A "privacy release form" (PRF) allows us to make a congressional inquiry to a federal agency. The form must be signed by the person directly affected, and it must contain all pertinent information including:
- Full Name
- Contact Information
- Full Social Security Number
- Any number associated with the case/claim
It is important to note that, if we do not receive a PRF, or if it does not contain all necessary information, we may not be able to begin the casework process for you.
2. Is the privacy release form only required by Congressman Wenstrup?
No. The Privacy Act of 1974 requires all Members of Congress to have a constituent's written permission before intervening with a federal agency on his/her behalf.
3. What will the congressman be able to do after I complete and sign this form?
We will initiate an inquiry with the relevant federal agency and provide all supporting documentation, if appropriate. My staff and I will do our best to facilitate the casework process, and ensure a fair and timely review of your case.
4. Do I need to provide the details of my situation on the privacy release form (PRF)? Does the agency see my PRF?
The more information you are able to provide in explaining your problem and your request, the better positioned the agency will be to address your concerns. You have the option of providing the details of your case on the PRF (there is a space on the form where you can describe your problem and request assistance), or you can attach to the PRF a letter that details your concerns. Because the details of your case are so important to identifying the issue and helping facilitate an appropriate review and response, I would encourage you to consider submitting a letter along with your PRF. The federal agencies relevant to your case do see the privacy release form and the individual letter (if one is submitted).
5. If I have supporting documents, will they help my case?
Yes, in some cases. New and relevant information can be helpful to the federal agency when reviewing your case.
6. How long will it take to process my case? Can the congressman expedite my case?
Typically, an agency responds within 30 days to a congressional inquiry. However, the nature of the case will dictate the time it takes to resolve the issues. For instance, in the event of a dire need or critical health concerns or other urgent circumstances (e.g. a missing passport for an upcoming trip), we can request that the agency expedite the case.
7. Do I have to live in the congressman's district to receive assistance?
Yes. While a private citizen may communicate with any Member of Congress on any issue, our ability to provide assistance to non-constituents is limited by House Ethics Rules and the rules governing the use of official House resources. Specifically, the law says that official resources are provided to a Member office to "support the conduct of the official and representational duties of a Member of the House of Representatives with respect to the district from which the Member is elected." In short, a Member of Congress generally cannot perform work for an individual who resides outside the congressional district the Member represents. We will refer those individuals to their own representative or senator.
8. Can your office help with a state or local issue?
No. As a federal office, we cannot intervene in matters under the jurisdiction of local or state governments. If it appears your problem is primarily a state or local matter, we will let you know and forward your concerns to your state or local government representatives.
9. What if my case is currently in court, or is legal in nature?
The ethics rules governing the House of Representatives prohibit Members of Congress from intervening in or influencing the outcome of any case under the jurisdiction of any court. In addition, we cannot offer legal advice or recommend an attorney.
10. Can I meet with someone in person to discuss my case?
Yes. Our caseworkers are available for personal, in-office appointments, or by phone, to discuss the nature of your case.