Constituent Services FAQ

Providing help to constituents who need assistance with federal agencies is one of my top priorities. My staff and I are here to help you cut through the red tape and get answers to the questions and problems you are having with the federal government. Below are ways to help you find the answers as quickly as possible and guide you to appropriate and available resources.

To go directly to my office's privacy consent form, please click here. My office will be in contact if more information is needed after submitting this form.


Do I reside in New York's 20th Congressional District?

Congressional courtesy, ethics rules and propriety dictate that each Member of Congress has the honor and responsibility to serve his or her own constituents. If you aren’t sure which district you live in, please click here to enter your zip code and find out.

Does your situation involve a federal agency?

As a federal representative, I am able to make inquiries of federal agencies. If your case involves state, county, or local government, your public school district or other public agencies, please visit www.NY.gov for appropriate contact information.

Does your inquiry concern yourself, or someone else?

Due to the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, we must have the written consent of a constituent in order to make an official inquiry. However, I will be happy to listen to your concerns regarding a constituent who is having difficulty. Please contact one of my offices in Albany, Schenectady, or Amsterdam and outline the situation so that we may determine if we can be of assistance. Phone numbers to all my offices can be found at the bottom of every page of this website.

Does your inquiry involve a legal dispute?

As a member of the Legislative Branch, I am unable to become involved in court cases or legal issues. This restriction is due to the Separation of Powers as outlined in the Constitution. This restriction applies to both civil and criminal matters.

If involving a federal agency, is your case within the agency's normal processing time?

It is rare that a case can be expedited for any reason other than extreme hardship. If you believe your situation merits faster processing, please contact the appropriate District Office. My staff will discuss your situation and help you determine if we can be of assistance. If you feel that your case has been "lost in the system" we can make an inquiry on your behalf.

What assistance can you expect from my office?

My office is here to assist constituents with problems involving a federal agency. Although I am unable to assure a specific outcome regarding a particular case, I may make inquiries as to the status of your case, obtain additional information, or direct you to appropriate resources or services. My role is to assure you a fair and thorough review of your case and to seek a timely response from the agency. While I will make my best efforts to assist you, please remember that federal agencies have discretion concerning decisions on individual cases and have the final say on the outcome.


Help Filing a Case with My Office

If you did not find the information you were looking for either on my website or by contacting the federal agency directly, I encourage you to open a case with my office so we may assist you in this process. I have provided information below on how to file a case with my office.

Once you have determined that your problem is one with which I can be of assistance, you should follow the steps listed below to gather necessary information and material before you contact my office. This will help my staff to assist you more efficiently.

First: Complete a consent form

This provides our office permission to look into the matter on your behalf. Please sign and send the release form or letter to my appropriate District Office via US Postal Service, fax or deliver it in person. Please include any relevant case or alien numbers and supporting documents which relate to your inquiry. To help avoid fraud in sensitive cases, we cannot accept emailed consent forms.

Second: Gather necessary paperwork

You must provide my staff with any paperwork you have regarding your case. This might include letters from the agency, medical forms, and other forms and documents relating to your problem. The agencies listed below require additional information. My staff will need this before they can make inquiries on your behalf:

  • Office of Personnel Management Cases: The OPM uses your CSA or CSF number as well as your Social Security number, and, in some cases your Date of Birth is helpful. To report the death of an annuitant and to apply for survivor benefits, you will need the death certificate.
  • Social Security Cases: Please apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) before contacting my office. Once you have applied, my staff will need to have information on the office at which you filed your claim or appeal and where you are in the process. If you have questions about how to apply or if you are eligible for benefits, please contact the Social Security Administration directly at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
  • Veterans Affairs Cases: Case number and Social Security number. The VA can be reached directly at 1-800-827-1000.
  • Federal Workers' Comp Cases: Case number and Social Security number.
  • Immigration Cases: Alien number, case number, and/or USCIS case receipt number.

Frequently Asked Questions about my office:

How do I apply for an internship in your office?

How do I apply for a military academy nomination from your office?

What guidance do you offer for constituents applying for a federal grant?

Where can I find information on Social Security?

  • SSA can also be reached at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Where can I find information on Medicare?

Where can I find information on New York's health insurance market?

How can I register to vote?

How do I obtain forms from the IRS?

How do I obtain a copy of military discharge documents?

How can I obtain a passport or a visa?

How can I obtain immigration forms?

  • Additional FAQs on immigration can be found on my site here.

How can I find a  job in the US government?

Contact Paul

Enter your zip code below to send Congressman Tonko an email.

Washington D.C. Office

2463 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone:
(202) 225-5076
Fax:
(202) 225-5077

Albany Office

19 Dove Street, Suite 302
Albany, NY 12210
Phone:
(518) 465-0700
Fax:
(518) 427-5107

Schenectady Office

105 Jay Street, Room 15
Schenectady, NY 12305
Phone:
(518) 374-4547
Fax:
(518) 374-7908

Amsterdam Office

61 Church Street, Room 309
Amsterdam, NY 12010
Phone:
(518) 843-3400
Fax:
(518) 843-8874