August 14, 2020

Moulton Passes $3 Million Mark for Money Returned to Constituents

SALEM, Mass. – Today, Representative Seth Moulton announced that his casework team had surpassed the $3 million mark for returning money to constituents. The sum represents years of work on behalf of constituents who have contacted the office when federal agencies that owed them money failed to deliver.

“There’s a reason the title of this job is Representative. It is my job to get the federal government working for you. My team and I have closed more than 5,000 cases over the last five years, and this week we crossed the $3 million mark in money returned to constituents,” Moulton said. “Whether it’s a tax refund that never came, VA benefits service members earned and deserve but aren’t getting, or the broken promise of a social security lost, when people come to us looking for help, we don’t quit until we get answers and results.”

Serving in Congress isn’t just about drafting bills and getting them passed. Half of Moulton’s team in his Salem District Office work full-time on constituent service. They track down money owed to constituents, help people cut through bureaucratic red tape, work with immigrants and travelers to secure visas, and serve as watchdogs and ombudsmen on the executive branch agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Veterans Affairs.

Since the office opened in 2015, Moulton and his team have closed 5,491 constituent cases, representing $3,029,048.72 million dollars in delayed and retroactive benefits. In 2020 alone, they opened 633 cases and closed 562, representing $608,340.22 in delayed and retroactive benefits returned. This translates to roughly 100 cases open at any given time for each of the full-time caseworkers, and 50 for our part-time member of the team. In an average month, each full-time caseworker will open 13-18 new cases, and close the same. The top three groups of people served are Seniors, veterans, and immigrants. 

The team is busy during this pandemic. In March, when the shutdown began, the team saw their email and phone calls to the office double.  They had to quickly adapt to meet the needs of constituents whose lives had been upended by the pandemic. Some of the earliest calls came from families of citizens stranded overseas, where the team had to work with the State Department’s repatriation task force to coordinate the safe return of constituents. But over the past five months the greatest volume of work has been for unemployment assistance. 

The cases lead to federal action. For example, earlier this year Congress passed the CARES Act that included stimulus checks for Americans. Moulton and his team heard from residents of the 6th Congressional District that some had received the payment split up into check and plastic debit cards. They also heard that in many cases the money did not come at all. Moulton’s Director of Constituent Services launched an investigation and found that two IRS processing facilities including one in Andover were sending stimulus payments to constituents in the form of plastic debit cards. As a result, seniors and others were shredding the cards because they thought they were scams and were expecting checks or direct deposits. Moulton raised the issue directly with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.  

For their constituent service work, Congressman Moulton and his team were recognized as finalists for the Congressional Management Foundation’s (CMF) Democracy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Constituent Service. The winner will be announced later this year. The nomination was the second for the office, which received the Democracy Award for Transparency and Accountability in 2018. 

Moulton’s team has also strongly advocated for the modernization of Congressional operations. Last month, a member of Moulton’s team, Ananda Bhatia, wrote an op-ed inRoll Call that called for Congress to modernize during the pandemic so the workers behind the scenes could serve people better. The next day, the House Administration Committee authorized Congressional offices to use collaboration technologies that Moulton and his team had been pioneering in Congress five years prior to the announcement. Moulton’s office was used as a case study in modernization by Georgetown’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

If you or someone you know in the 6th district is encountering difficulties with government agencies or otherwise needs help from the Congressman’s team, please contact the office at (978) 531-1669 or visit them online at Moulton.House.Gov.