Hagarty’s year in review

Published 1:39 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

Jan Runions

jan.runions@claiborneprogress.net

Success is the name of the game and, according to U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), his corner of Tennessee has met and/or exceeded this year’s goals in several areas.

Hagarty says it’s been an honor to represent the volunteer state for another year in Washington while pushing for those items that Tennessee needs in order to grow.

“My talented team and I have fought each day to improve the lives of constituents and to keep Tennessee the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to another year meeting more Tennesseans and continuing to be their voice and advocate in Washington,” said Hagarty.

The Senator’s office has released its 2023 Year in Review listing just some of the accomplishments that potentially affect all Tennesseans. Hagerty says that the year has brought hundreds of thousands of letters from Tennessee citizens expressing their views on current events, legislation and actions taken by the Biden Administration. Nearing the end of the calendar year, his office has received some 342,660 unique pieces of mail from within the state, responding to about 323,688 individual letters from those citizens.

Hagerty’s offices encompass seven states – Nashville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis and the Tri-Cities. Staff members from each office have worked tirelessly to assist Tennesseans to resolve a plethora of casework issues that had, in many cases, dragged on for months to years. Just a few of the types of issues included assistance with veterans claims, resolving Internal Revenue Service disputes and aiding with passport and visa requests.

Just since January 2023, staff has opened some 2,055 constituent cases with the closure of approximately 1,518 of them.

Below are examples of the many issues resolved within each office showing caseworkers meeting real, tangible progress for contituents.

Nashville

Rachel was contacted by a local medical school requesting assistance in obtaining a Visa interview for a visitor from Nigeria. This Visa was necessary for the Nigerian doctor to participate in a conference that would allow the doctor to greatly increase the Standard of Care delivery for the people in his country. The conference was scheduled for the last week of September and the first week of October, but his interview was scheduled for January 2024. With a great deal of hard work Rachel successfully made the connections necessary to advocate for the medical school and successfully had the doctor’s interview moved up to late August. The doctor received his Visa in late September, in time for the conference.

Chattanooga

Lauren was contacted in February by a family whose adoptive son was stuck in Haiti. According to the mother, when the Biden Administration announced new policies to accelerate more Haitian migrants, the single immigration office in the country became overwhelmed and approximately 30 children were stranded as a result waiting on passports. Their son had his photo taken and application submitted, but nothing was being processed. After reaching out to the adoption department of the Department of State, Lauren uncovered the fact that the boy’s application had been misplaced. After numerous calls and interactions, the application was found, issued and he was on his way home to his adoptive parents in Tennessee.

Cookeville

Bonny was contacted by a constituent who was having difficulty getting Medicare to cover the medication for his breathing treatments. After receiving a completed privacy release form, Bonny submitted an inquiry to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A representative from CMS called him and explained the issue was actually a durable medical equipment issue and he needed to find a pharmacy that would bill his Part B of Medicare (not Part D) to cover the medications. Bonny then worked with the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to find a pharmacy that would bill his Part B. A local pharmacy that could comply with the Medicare requirement was located and he was able to get his medications filled.

Jackson

Amy was contacted by a constituent needing assistance with her student loan. Originally, she was to pay off her loan by October 2023, but received a letter from Federal Loan Service mistakenly tacking on two years to her loan. The constituent, who never missed a payment, could not get anyone at the federal level to provide her with an answer. Amy contacted the Department of Education on the constituent’s behalf and favorably resolved the matter.

Memphis

Mary was contacted by a constituent whose special needs son received Social Security Disability benefits, which were direct deposited into a bank account. But when he reached adulthood, the mother had to reapply for benefits and that account was closed. She opened a new bank account and gave that information to Social Security several times, but they kept sending her son’s payments to the closed account. Mary reached out to a manager at Social Security, and properly escalated the matter. The problem was corrected and a back payment of close to $10,000 was deposited into the correct account.

Knoxville

Keith was contacted by a large local company regarding their Employee Retention Credits that had not been processed from August of 2021. The company has locations in Maryville and Athens and both locations were missing the August 2021 ERCs. Keith contacted the Taxpayer Advocate Service on their behalf, and within three weeks, the ERCs were properly processed for both locations.

Tri-Cities

Tracie was contacted by a constituent regarding issues with two agencies, TNCare and OPM. Her daughter had a kidney transplant and was placed on Medicare for a few years. She also drew SSI and had Medicaid. Her Medicare coverage ended in December, and they were having trouble with the coordination of benefits. They were also trying to get continuous coverage for eye and dental under the mother’s federal benefits. However, they had been working with OPM since last year and still did not have it resolved. Tracie contacted the agencies and successfully had the constituent’s case escalated for resolution. Within days the situation was favorably resolved for the constituent.