After getting conflicting information from SS agents regarding my full retirement benefits and your ineligibility for same, I contact Ms. Bustos to see if she could intervene and help me understand and correct the matter. Within two weeks I was contacted by her team member who requested more info and then set about getting an inquiry started. Less than two weeks after that I got a call from the SS administration. THAT agent had looked into the problem, sorted it out, and gave me the good news that I was eligible, when, and the criteria I have to meet to make it happen. Ms. Bustos got me the correct info within a month, after 3 years of wrangling on my own!
Michael A. Stobaugh, Bartonville
“Following rejection of my initial SBA Loan Application, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and staff were among those I turned to for help to receive SBA Loan Assistance, as an Independent Contractor for Hildebrand Amusement Rides, which has been shut down for 16 weeks and counting due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Their efforts complemented those within the SBA of Charles Carroll, SBA Attorney Adviser, Office of Disaster Assistance; Geoffrey Misilo, SBA Contractor for Customer Service; and Jo Eckert, SBA Branch Manager, Cedar Rapids Iowa District Branch Office
Having recently moved to Rock Island, Illinois from Davenport, Iowa, I also turned to and received assistance from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and his staff member.”
John Verona, Rock Island
“Back in Nov. I contacted your office for help on VA claim for my daughter. I was talking to a Constituent Advocate on this matter. I want to know that I had nothing by a positive response. Staff answered all my questions (sometimes twice), was very respectful, called when they said they would, going above and beyond the call of duty. I just want to know that you have a person working for you that really cares about people and their problems. I can’t say enough. Can’t.”
Gary Vasquez, Manito
“When I needed help with contact to the US Immigrations the staff from Cheri Bustos office was very helpful with assistance. It was very fast acting. I’m grateful that Cheri Bustos and staff treated me kindly and professionally, through out the process. Thank you very much for your job service people, help people when they have difficult time. God bless you!”
Natalya Pshenychny, Galesburg
“I contacted Congresswoman Bustos office after requesting my DD214 and noticing I didn’t have all service ribbons on it. After contacting the office I promptly received a phone call. I then filled out all the paperwork they sent me. Shortly after mailing it back I received a letter telling me of the progress of my ribbon. Today, I received my ribbons thanks to Cheri Bustos, her office and staff. ”
James Patrick Bruner, Joy
“I am a Vietnam veteran. I sent an ‘Application For Correction of Military Record’ with two requests: 1) I feel that I was wrongly reduced in rank prior to discharge and would like the rank of Sergeant reinstated. 2) The Bronze Star is missing my list of medals. I would like this corrected. I mailed this application along with all documentation that I had concerning these two requests on 4-7-17. I heard nothing for over a year, so I went to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office to see if they could help. They filed paperwork concerning this matter and within a couple of months I received a correction to my military record with the Bronze Star added an they are working on the reinstatement of rank. Thank you for your help.”
Daniel Williams, Silvis
“I am my father’s guardian. For the past several years I had been receiving my fathers 1099’s for taxes from DFAS. I did not receive them for 2016. I contacted DFAS and they informed me that they sent them to his former address. I informed that I needed a change of address. They could not do that because the guardianship documents that I sent were over 3 years old. I contacted the attorney that helped with the guardianship. We then had a three-way conference call with DFAS, and they stated the same information. Our tax person used the previous years numbers to file for 2016. This year, I decided to check with the VA office at the Rock Island County Building. He informed me that he could not help me because the VA + DFAS do not work together on cases. I remembered about the ombudsman’s position at Congresswoman office. I called and staff was extremely helpful and eventually restored my issues with DFAS.
P.S. My father is a 93 soon to be 94-year-old World War 2 veteran. He served 20 years with the U.S Navy. He worked at the Rock Island Arsenal for 30 years after his discharge from the Navy. I can not believe that the different branches of government services do not work together. I requested information from OPM. VA. Social Security without any issues. I have been receiving information from DFAS prior to 2016. Not sure what changed. I can’t imagine what happens to Veterans that do not have anyone to advocate for them.”
Franki Cunningham, Moline
“This letter is to express our deep appreciation for your very excellent responses to every request we have made regarding the military service records of Donald Brown, Dallis Brown, and Bernard C. Smith, Sr.
In 2017, we had made a decision to seek out help in building a legacy for generations to come regarding the military service of our fathers. We were referred to you, our current representative Cheri Bustos. We contacted your office and the Constituent Advocate assisted us in the initiation of the process. Each time we made a request, we always received what we considered to be a very prompt response from Rep. Cheri Bustos and staff.
By the end of 2017, we had received the following information:
For Donald Brown, who actively served from February 1966-January 1968, we received all information regarding his time of service including an Honorable Discharge from the U.S Army. His certificate of Discharge was awarded as a testament of honest and faithful service to his country the United States of America. Also, he received Honorable Discharge from the Standing Reserve in 1973. Donald J. was honored recently on May 20, 2018 by the Quad City Quilts of Valor and received a very impressive quilt along with other very worthy recipients.
For Dallis Brown, whose Tour of Active Duty in the United States Army was from November 1943-August 11, 1944, we received a certificate of Honorable Discharge. This certificate was awarded as a testament of honest and faithful service to his country. We were notified that all other records of service were not in file of the National Personnel Records Center of the Army military personnel from 1912 through 1959.
For Bernard C. Smith, Sr., who dedicated his life to the service of the United States of America from 1943 until his death in August 1968, receiving many letters of commendation for outstanding performance during active duty. Also receiving the following medals: Good Conduct Medal & Clasp Bronze 4 Loops, American Defense Service, American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign & Bronze Star, World War II victory, Army of Occupation & Japan Clasp, National Defense Service & Bronze Star Attachment, Philippine Liberation Ribbon & Bronze Star Attachment & the Honorable Service Lapel Button.
We are overwhelmed with the impression that what was a priority to us was also a priority to you. We thank you for your exceptional service.”
Elizabeth Brown, Rock Island
“After not hearing any response from the IRS to why the 8-week delay in returning my federal tax refund, I turned to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office for help. Her office staff member guided me through various paper forms and then she contacted the Taxpayers Advocate Service. That group responded to me, saying the original e-filed 1040 federal tax form was never received at IRS.
A second copy of my 1040 tax form was sent to IRS on May 9th and the refund came to me on May 23, 2018. Thank you for your support and service. It shows that big government can help the single taxpayer after all.”
Donald Fentem, East Moline
“I applied for Social Security Disability in February of 2016. After 2 denials, I wrote a letter to Rep. Bustos on 5-3-17. I was very frustrated with how slow the appeal process moved and was unable to keep up with my house payment and utility bills.
I received a prompt reply from her Peoria office. Although due to House Ethics rules, she was unable to make any attempt to influence the outcome, she monitored my situation on a monthly basis and kept me informed. My case was expedited, and I had my hearing on 5-1-18, which resulted in a fully favorable ruling. I really feel that Ms. Bustos monitoring of the situation helped my case move through the appeal process quicker than it would have otherwise. I was in dire financial straits and thankfully the hearing turned out favorably.
I am very proud that Cheri Bustos represents my Congressional District and was actually surprised and so pleased that she cared enough about me as an induvial to keep up with the status of my situation until it was resolved.”
Kathleen Vaughn, Aledo
“After 23 years of marriage and 3 children my husband, Kenneth (Kenny) Michael Wilfong died March 31, 1999, after a 1-month battle with cancer. On September 27, 2017 he would have been 70 years old. As most young people when you marry you talk about the future and what you want to accomplish. We were married January 9th, 1976 and our daughter Kate was born July 23, 1977 followed shortly by her twin brothers Byron and Erich on July 12, 1978.
Kenny worked at International Harvester in East Moline and went through many changes, layoffs and unemployment until New Holland became his final work home. It was a busy time with the kids, work, sports and life in general. Kate was 20 and Byron and Erich were 19 when we got the news Kenny’s pneumonia wasn’t what we though it was. We were just on the cusp of being just the two of us when the cancer struck. 14 months later he was gone.
In the years since then, all the kids have married, that he missed. We have a granddaughter that he never got to hold and have 7 step grandchildren that he’ll never meet, or they him.
It was this past summer of 2017 that I started to think about how much I didn’t know about Kenny before it was us. That brought me to James (Jimmy) Loveless who served with Kenny in Vietnam. I asked Jimmy to help me piece some of the pieces of Kenny’s life together for me and our kids. He graciously consented and me met with us and talked and told stories. One of the saddest things was to see my 39-year-old sons get so excited when Jimmy would make a comment about something or a certain way they acted and he would say, “That’s just like your father”. They would just beam and punch the other and say, “See I’m just like dad”. 39-year-old men, still missing their father so much and grabbing on to any piece of information they could get.
Jimmy offered to check in Kenny’s service records for me. He contacted Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office in early November and set an appointment for us to meet with Ellie from the Congresswoman’s office and what we need to bring. We met with Ellie on November 15th, 2017 at 10:00 AM and she was so very helpful with explaining what they would try to do and get any information they could.
I received a large envelope in December that contained all of Kenny’s military and medical records from his time served and yesterday, January 22, 2018 I was able to pick up the medals he had earned while serving in Vietnam from Congresswoman Bustos’ office.
With all this information and the help of Jimmy I hope to get a clearer picture of that time of Kenny’s life for myself and our children. It’s going to take time, but it will be worth it, and I never could have started this news journey without all the help and assistance from Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office.”
Karen M. Wilfong, Rock Island
“On advice of my local Veterans Administration (VA) representative I contacted Congresswoman Cheri Bustos to request assistance in location of my military records. The VA claimed to be unable to find the records. The documentation of the, alleged, search, provided by the VA, clearly demonstrated that minimal efforts were being expended. Worse yet, the VA adopted the position that it was my responsibility to provide proof of military service. After more than a year the VA abandoned the bureaucratic procrastination and stated that it was my responsibility to find, retrieve and submit my records to the VA. This was the point at which I contacted Congresswoman Bustos.
Congresswoman Bustos assigned a Constituent Advocate to my case. Within days of initial contact they provided and processed all necessary documentation to renew the quest for the ‘missing’ military records. A few weeks after submission of the requisite documentation I was contacted by the VA to inform me of appointments regarding my claim.
That, had it not been for Congresswoman Bustos, my veteran’s rights would have been denied is obvious. However, I have to ask why.
Why is the intervention of a Congressional Representative necessary to ensure that veterans are treated fairly?
If, as some claim, the VA is underfunded then WHY? This country, incessantly, demonstrates ample appetite to design and purchase, increasingly, destructive implements of war. Such appetite is not blunted by the fact that we already have sufficient weaponry, with which the planet can be instantly immolated. Instead of another aircraft carrier, why can’t the VA be funded?
Can it be that the American people have no appetite to acknowledge the human cost of our war mongering habits? What better way to ignore the cost than by denying the crisis with veteran care? These comments are, in no way, an indictment against any VA personnel. Every VA representative with whom I have come in contact has been courteous and eager to help.
These comments are, however, a challenge to understand why the veterans, who so willingly have risked their lives, are ignored by a failing bureaucratic system.
My claim is now being processed by the VA for three reasons.
1) I am, and always have been, tenaciously focused on my objectives.
2) I received good advice from my local VA office.
3) Invaluable intervention from the office of Congresswoman Bustos.
I have to wonder. What will happen to the veterans who lack such tenacity and support?”
George Weers, Pekin
“Western Illinois Home Health Care contacted the Office of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on August 16, 2017 to express concern with the trouble of collecting a payment dated April 10, 2017 in the amount of $29,159.42 from Health Net Federal Services, LLC. Western Illinois Home Health Care had made contact with Health Net Federal Services several times with the promise that they would re-issue the check. After multiple attempts were made to collect the payment, Western reached out to Congresswoman Bustos for assistance. Within a couple of days requesting assistance we received a call from a constituent advocate who confirmed that Congresswoman Bustos’ office would be happy to help”
“The response from Congresswoman Bustos’ office was quick and effective. We received the payment via electronic transfer 6 days after reaching out to Congresswoman Bustos. Western Illinois Home Health Care is extremely grateful for the assistance that was provided by her office. Congresswoman Bustos’ dedication to veterans is remarkable.”
Barb Byers, Monmouth
Western Illinois Home Health Care
“First of all, I’d like to thank you and your office for the successful attempt to help me in acquiring the Military awards that were not included on my records after I was discharged from the Navy in December 1972.”
“When I found information on the internet in 2015 during my recuperation from triple bi-pass surgery, that I should have been awarded additional ribbons and medals while serving as an Oceans System Technician, I never dreamed that I may actually have them added to my military records after 45 years, but I was determined to find out.”
“In 2016 my first attempt to have my records updated, I went to the VA office that was once located in Moline in late April. Forms were filled out and sent to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis to get copies of my records and see if it was possible that they would find additional information that would indicate that indeed I had earned more awards. After almost 7 months I received a letter and copies of my service records and was told no other ribbons or medals were earned other than the National Defense Medal and (1) Meritorious Unit Commendation that was on my DD215. Looking back, I should have included that information I had found on the internet but I did not. I knew the documentation I had, from Navy sources, indicated I had earned additional ribbons and medals, including additional Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Navy Unit Commendation, and Navy Good Conduct ribbon/medal and after talking with, and emailing various agencies and getting nowhere, I was given the advice to contact my local congressman, which turned out to be Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.”
“After contacting her office and making copies of all the documentation that I obtained on the internet including my service records, within a month or so, her office contacted me and whether or not her office was my last resort, I received a copy of a DD215 Correction form from the National Personnel Records Center indicating I had indeed earned an additional Meritorious Unit Commendation, a Navy Unit Commendation, and a Navy Good Conduct award that has been added to my records.”
“Words can’t describe how relieved I am to know that now my military records are up to date.”
“This was a quest to update my military records that for some reason or another, were not, while on active duty, to include those awards to my records even though many years have passed and many had said that it could not be done…Cheri Bustos’ office provided otherwise.”
Steven Robert Carlson, Moline
“Beginning in April 0f 2012, I began the task of obtaining my father’s military records while he enlisted in the Army. I initially contacted the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, to determine if the records were available. The records needed to answer my inquiry were destroyed on July 12, 1973, by a fire that destroyed the major portion of records of Army military personnel.”
“Injured in combat on October 3, 1952 in North Korea, he was taken to the 24th Evac Hospital APO#234 to receive medical treatment. As a result of his injuries, medical records were discovered at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA provided a control number and reported that the medical records were doing everything possible to accommodate my request in a timely manner, which I understood would take some time to retrieve.”
“After a year had past, I wrote to the VA to determine the status of my request. I did not get a response. Subsequent years would yield negative responses from the VA.”
“In June of 2017, I contacted Representative Cheri Bustos for assistance in obtaining my father’s medical records in Kansas City. In July, I received a CD from the VA which contained my father’s medical records and a synopsis of his injuries he suffered on October 3, 1952. What was taking me years to accomplish, unsuccessful, took Representative Bustos less than a month to achieve a positive outcome.”
Michael L. Miroux, Moline
“I applied for disability in 2013 because of my severe COPD but kept getting denied. In 2016 I hired a lawyer then finally came to see Cheri Bustos and without her help I never would have had such a fast hearing. She is the best. I was approved and paid back since 2013. Thank you Cheri, you are a Godsend. Without you I would still be waiting.”
Sandra K. Hauer, Andalusia
“Great experience. I contacted Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office because I didn’t want my claim for S.S.D. to fall through the cracks. She cares about her country and its people. It’s hell to find out your body won’t let you work anymore. Her office is keeping me well informed of my claim. Thank you very much, God bless you.”
John R. Phillips, Rock Island
“In January 2014, I was called up to active duty and was part of a Navy medical contingency deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF. My employer, Unity Point Clinic, mistakenly paid my wages the entire time I was gone, unbeknownst to me. I brought it to their attention up on my return in November 2014, but was told everything was correct. In January 2015, I was informed, in fact, it was a mistake, and I would have to pay back my wages, claim the money on my tax return and be responsible for the taxes since it was their mistake. I did as I was told; repaid the wages, paid the taxes and my 401K contribution amount as claimed on my tax return. Over the past 2+ years, I have received numerous letters from the IRS stating they disagreed with the owed refund of over $20,000, despite numerous documentation from myself, the bank and the accountant. After several attempts to contact the IRS directly by my accountant, and much stress and frustration, I contacted Congresswoman Bustos’ office via the website in an attempt to ask for assistance in resolving this matter. Staff immediately contacted me by phone and provided the necessary paperwork to begin an inquiry on 2/6/17. After supplying additional copies of previously supplied documentation as requested by the IRS, I received a voicemail on 3/18/17 from Congresswoman Bustos, stating the issues had been resolved and to be expecting a refund check form the IRS. I then received the check on 3/28/17.”
“I truly appreciate both Congresswoman Bustos’ and her staff’s prompt attention, professionalism, and respect in response to my issue. As someone who has been mobilized twice, it has helped restore my trust in others, as it was badly shaken both by deployment and by how this was mishandled by a large corporation I have been employed by for 17 years. I am grateful for your help. Thank you.”
CDR Polly Haskins, NC, USN, Port Byron, IL
“I contacted the Office of Congresswoman Bustos because of a workers compensation claim. I was injured at work which required surgery. The surgery was approved but after the bill came, the Dept. of Labor denied the claim. After numerous attempts to resolve the issue through the Dept. of Labor and my place of employment, the surgery bill remained unpaid. After a year long fight, my personal insurance finally paid because they were going to send it to collections. My employer requires me to pay my bills. After contacting your office, this issue has finally been resolved. Thank you so much for helping me and caring about my issue.”
Matthew Moore, Mt. Carroll
“For 3 years, someone has filed a false tax refund claim using my identity information. After multiple calls t the IRS that were unsuccessful in getting my Federal Tax Refund for 2015 and 2016, I finally contacted the Office of Cheri Bustos, my Congresswoman. The office person took all my information and copies of my tax forms, with my IRS correspondence, and contacted their federal tax advocate. Within 60 days my case was reviewed and I finally received my tax refund for 2015 and 2016. I had just about given up dealing with the IRS, spending hours on the phone. Without the help of Congresswoman Bustos and her staff, I truly believe my case would not have been resolved. I am forever indebted and want to express my heartfelt appreciation for resolving my dilemma.”
Kenneth Scrivano, Rockford