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How our office is serving Arizonans

One of the top priorities for me and my office is getting Arizonans the answers and help they need. We take great pride in assisting Arizonans who are having difficulty navigating a federal agency and can help with a range of issues involving veterans and active duty military, Social Security, Medicare, the Small Business Administration, federal taxes, immigration, passports, and more. So far, we’ve helped return more than $10 million in earned benefits or overdue payments back to Arizona taxpayers.

We’d like to share some of the ways we’ve been able to assist Arizona residents. If you ever find yourself having a problem with a federal agency or program, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. You can do so by giving us a call or completing this online form.

-Senator Mark Kelly

Ensuring seniors receive the benefits they’ve earned

Every senior should be able to retire with dignity. We often work with Arizona seniors to ensure they can access Social Security, Medicare, and all of the other federal benefits that are available to them. 

Rollonda Daughtery, a Glendale resident, needs constant health care coverage due to her severe COPD, which requires 24/7 oxygen and other medical treatments. Rollonda received a notice of termination from the Social Security Administration after missing one on-time payment. 

She made the payment to her Medicare coverage the next day and asked for our office’s help to ensure that her coverage was reinstated immediately. We reached out to the agency’s Critical Cases Unit on her behalf. The agency responded by reinstating both her Medicare Part A and B immediately after payment was received. 

Watch Rollonda share her story about how our office assisted her.

Helping small businesses keep their doors open during the pandemic

In the wake of the pandemic, many small businesses found themselves struggling. Our office was able to work with a number of Arizona businesses to navigate the Small Business Administration and get them the COVID-19 relief they were eligible for to keep their doors open and their staff on payroll.

Here’s what some Arizona business owners had to say:

“My 70 year old family owned business was denied PPP funding based on a technicality. We reached out to Senator Kelly for much needed help. Senator Kelly and his constituent services team worked tirelessly to help our small business get our funding approved by the SBA. These funds will ensure our small business will continue serving the Tucson community today and into the future. Thank you, Senator Kelly, to you and your staff for your focus and tenacity addressing our situation in these unprecedented times. We are forever grateful!” – Frank Naughton, owner of Naughton’s Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Tucson, AZ.

“On May 12th I reached out to Senator Kelly’s office to inquire if he might have any information regarding additional funding availability for the second draw of PPP Funding. I had been notified by my previous lender that SBA was no longer accepting applications for second draw PPP funds. I received a response from Senator Kelly’s office the same day informing me that there may be a company that was still accepting applications and provided me with their information. I reached out right away and they were extremely helpful; within a day my application was submitted to SBA and a few days later it was approved. Thank you Senator Kelly’s office from the bottom of my heart for helping me and my small little company. Words cannot express how thankful I am for the time they took to communicate the information to me – they are amazing.” – Terri Mays, owner of Crystal Billing Services, Glendale, AZ.

“I was approved by the SBA for a PPP loan but was having great difficulty getting the loan company to send me a copy of the loan contract for signature. I spent the better part of two months in communication with the loan company about receiving the contract, but with no success. I had all but given up when I decided to contact Senator Kelly’s office for assistance. Senator Kelly’s Constituent Services staff quickly made contact with the loan company, and I received the contract within a few days. What a relief! The PPP loan was critical to my ability to maintain my small business, and I would not have received the loan without the help of Senator Kelly’s staff.” – Doug Hirano, owner of Hirano and Associates, Tempe, AZ. 

“Kuttz is so much more than a small business – it’s a hub of learning and investing in the future of our Flagstaff community – Senator Kelly saw this firsthand when he visited my shop in January last year. My business provides great haircuts, but also key economic and educational opportunities. That’s why it was scary when the pandemic made very real the possibility of having to close Kuttz, and even more worrisome when I was wrongfully denied the PPP loan needed to keep my workers on payroll and the business afloat. I reached out to Senator Kelly’s office to see if they could help me navigate the process, and after our discussion and their advice, I was able to reach out to a different bank and get approved for a PPP loan. Thanks to Senator Kelly’s team’s care and guidance, I was able to keep my shop open, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their quick, friendly assistance.” – Jabarha Nichols, owner of Kuttz Barber Shop, Flagstaff, AZ.

“We can continue our dream of having this business, creating more opportunities for our employees, and making a change for our community, and continuing to support the community that supports us.” – Magaly Saenz, manager of Tres Leches Café, Phoenix, AZ, in an interview with Telemundo Arizona about the loan our office helped secure for her business. Read more about the assistance we provided to Tres Leches Café here.

Cutting through red tape to assist our veterans

After serving our country honorably, veterans and their families have earned various health and other benefits. But sometimes bureaucracy can get in the way. Our office is always happy to step in and help make sure veterans receive the benefits they rightfully deserve.

Here are a few of the Arizona veterans and families our office has assisted:

Diana Allen, from Sun City, AZ, had her benefits wrongly terminated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which also claimed she had a pending debt she was unable to pay. Her daughter reached out to our constituent services team, who got to work on her behalf. Allen’s debt was forgiven, and her benefits were reinstated and retroactively awarded to her. 

Diana Allen’s daughter, Tanya Carroccio, offered the following note of gratitude after the case resolution: 

“Words cannot express the relief that overcame my mom, a recent stroke victim and an Army Veteran, when she heard the news that the VA had reversed their decision to cancel her assisted living Aid and Attendance benefit, as well as reverse their decision on debt owed for previous Aid and Attendance program benefits. A clerical error and poor communication contributed to the VA’s decision to cancel her benefits and demand she pay back what she had been given. We reached out to Senator Mark Kelly for assistance with this erroneous VA decision. Through a congressional inquiry, the VA reviewed the circumstances, worked with the outreach representative and assisted me with getting the appropriate level review and reversal of the VA decisions. Thank you, Senator Kelly, for your support and the amazing team you have to assist veterans.” 

Gilbert Williams was a Navy veteran and Tucson resident who served heroically during World War II. After he passed away, his family had difficulty claiming the veteran survivor benefits due to them by the VA. Gilbert’s son reached out to our office and we were able to secure their survivor benefits as well as retroactive payments. Read more about this Arizonan’s story here.

“All around it was a good thing overall. It’s good for her, good for us, and very appreciative of the senator and his staff for helping out.” – Gilbert Williams III, son of Navy veteran Gilbert Williams. 

Ela Yazzie King, similarly faced bureaucratic barriers to receiving survivor benefits after the death of her late husband, an Air Force Veteran who served in the Vietnam War. Because they lived on the Navajo Nation, his death certificate had to be approved by the FBI. Due to the pandemic, the backlog was four to six months, which put King in financial distress. She reached out to our constituent services team and we escalated her case through the VA. The agency ultimately granted her the much-needed benefits earned through her husband’s service.  

“I am so grateful to Senator Kelly and his team for their quick and effective assistance in helping me navigate the uncertainty around my survivor benefits after my husband’s passing on the Navajo Nation,” said King. “The pandemic made more challenging an already difficult time in our family’s life, and the support from Senator Kelly’s team meant so much. The Senator’s team is determined to try and help Arizonans. I greatly appreciate their efforts and encourage Arizonans who need help with federal agencies to reach out to Senator Kelly’s office.”

Thomas Sullivan, a disabled veteran from Surprise, Arizona, encountered barriers to care for a chronic back condition. He reached out to our office for help with a resolution.

“Facing serious injury to my shoulder, the VA approved my request for chiropractic care. Unfortunately, the VA scheduled my appointment at a location that I couldn’t access easily, and they were not able to work with me on a better arrangement despite my attempts to resolve the issue,” said Sullivan. “After Senator Kelly’s staff stepped in on my behalf and contacted the Phoenix VA, my doctor called to let me know my appointment was moved closer to my home. I am so relieved that I’ll be able to get to my appointment. I really appreciate Senator Kelly’s team’s efforts to help me access the medical attention I need. It’s clear that the Senator and his staff care about veterans, and I encourage other veterans experiencing federal hurdles to call on Senator Kelly’s office if they need assistance.” 

Making sure a DACA recipient made it to the Tokyo Olympics

Luis Grijalva is a Dreamer who came to the United States with his family when he was only one year old. He went on to become an Olympic-qualifying long-distance runner during his time at Northern Arizona University.

But as a DACA recipient, he needed a special reentry permit from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to leave the country to compete in the 2020 Olympics and then return home. The process was taking months and it appeared Luis wouldn’t receive approval to make it to Tokyo on time. That’s when our office stepped in and helped expedite the process. Luis successfully received his permit with just days to spare, competed in the Olympics, and qualified for the 5,000-meter final.

Read more about Luis’ story here.

If you’re an Arizonan in need of assistance with a federal agency, please give us a call or reach out via this form.