A homeowner from Hawaii Island needing help modifying his mortgage; a Maui Vietnam War veteran and a Maui widow needing assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); and a Kauai senior and a Hawaii Island physician needing help getting Medicare to pay for covered services: In the first six months of 2012, Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) has helped these and other Hawaii residents cut through red tape to receive $1.1 million owed to them for veterans, education, or employment benefits, Social Security or Medicare payments, or mortgage modifications.
"These are incredibly tough times and we're doing everything we can to help with the challenges folks are facing -- from making sure our veterans get the benefits they're rightly due to helping people stay in their homes," said Congresswoman Hirono. "My hope is that these families' successes encourage others to contact us for help. You're not alone -- we're here to help."
Statewide, the congresswoman's efforts this year have helped constituents receive:
Veteran Benefits: $376, 652
Social Security: $269,356
In a letter to Congresswoman Hirono, Hawaii Island homeowner Patrick Masterson stated, "Within weeks of your letter [to the lender] I received a new application for a modification and completed the paperwork and was approved! You have saved my house and I cannot begin to thank you enough for your time and kind consideration for someone that you don't even know."
When a Vietnam War veteran was diagnosed with a severe service-related disease that left him unable to work, he contacted Congresswoman Hirono for help with the VA. As a result of the congresswoman's efforts, the veteran was able to receive the full benefits he deserved.
Sharon Dahl of Maui, a widow of a Vietnam War veteran who received survivor benefits after a year of frustration, wrote Congresswoman Hirono: "The VA had misplaced my application for survivor benefits and you were able to contact the right agent to remedy this oversight... Your actions on my behalf are greatly appreciated."
On Kauai, a Medicare patient in Kapaa required hospital treatment after she fell in her home. Two months later, she was stunned to receive a bill for $20,000. The hospital miscoded her treatment and Medicare declined to cover all of the procedures. An inquiry from the congresswoman to Medicare launched the correction process, which led to the woman's charges being paid in full.
For a Hawaii Island physician, three months of unpaid Medicare claims were costing the practice $46,000 and put at risk its service of Medicare patients. Congresswoman Hirono reached out to Medicare and the problem was resolved within three weeks.
Since 2007, Congresswoman Hirono and her staff have assisted more than 5,000 residents with a wide range of cases. Anyone needing a hand with a federal agency is encouraged to email the congresswoman by visiting her website at www.hirono.house.gov. Or, contact her District Office by calling one of the following numbers:
Oahu -- 541-1986
Hawaii Island -- 935-3756
Kauai & Niihau -- 245-1951
Lanai -- 565-7199
Maui -- 242-1818
Molokai -- 552-0160