Casework Success Stories

Casework Success Stories

  • 1,972 Constituent Cases Closed
  • 103,533 Email / Letter Responses
  • $12,617,536 Earned Benefits Returned to Constituents

Every day, I’m proud to represent the 14th District in Congress. Please know that I am here to serve you and that my office has resources to help members of our community cut through the red tape of federal agencies. In fact, Team Underwood has already returned over $12,617,536.57 to people in our community who needed help securing veterans’ benefits, Medicare benefits, Social Security payments, and more. Please do not hesitate to contact me at my West Chicago, Woodstock, or Washington, D.C. offices at 630-549-2190 for more information on available services.

Check out constituent success stories from across the 14th District of Illinois.

Brendan from Naperville

In May 2019, Congresswoman Underwood met with Brendan, a veteran from Naperville, who was experiencing difficulty applying for Veterans Disability Compensation at open office hours. Underwood was able to help Brendan by sending a letter to the VA outlining his issue. In June, we heard back that his issue had been resolved and he qualified for his earned benefits.

“I am very grateful for the support of Representative Underwood and her team for assisting me in my efforts to claim veterans' disability benefits. I can’t think of anything more kind or responsive than the manner in which Rep. Underwood has handled my concerns,” said Brendan in a letter expressing his gratitude.

Mariusz Siwiak from Island Lake

In May 2019, Congresswoman Underwood helped Island Lake resident, Mariusz Siwiak, who was seeking help to receive back-due Social Security benefits. In less than one week, Underwood was able to pinpoint the paperwork glitch holding back the payment and return more than $41,000 in benefits to Siwiak.

“Since January 2019, I was not able to receive any information or make progress alone. Within a week of contacting Congresswoman Underwood, all issues were resolved and soon after, I received backpay benefits from SSA. I would like to thank the Congresswoman and express gratitude to the office representative for the immediate assistance and positive outcome,” said Siwiak from Island Lake.

Patrick Chaney from Lake County

In April 2019, Congresswoman Underwood helped Lake County resident, Patrick Chaney, recover his Medicare benefits after he had inadvertently canceled them and temporarily lost health care coverage.

“I made the mistake of canceling my Medicare Part B. That cancellation effectively took me out of my medical health care coverage. I contacted Congresswoman Underwood’s office and Rebecca became my guardian angel, following up with my paperwork with Social Security and checking in with me to see how I was doing. She really cared! I’m convinced that if not for my Congresswoman’s office, I wouldn’t have my Medicare back,” said Patrick Chaney.

Skip and Beverly from Sycamore

In May 2019, Congresswoman Underwood helped Sycamore residents improve community safety for their neighborhood along Airport Road. Skip and Beverly from Sycamore contacted the office for help relocating their mailboxes. As a result of Park District improvements near Airport Road, Skip and Beverly shared their concerns for their communities safety and for residents required to cross a busy street to access their mailboxes due to increased highway traffic. Underwood heard and quickly addressed their concern, by working with the United States Postal Service and the Sycamore Park District to successfully relocate the mailboxes to a safer location.

"Too often we’re cynical about big government and the responsiveness and concern of our elected officials--Lauren Underwood has proven she’s different!  She listens, she cares, and she wants to make a positive difference in the lives of her constituents.  Thanks to Lauren Underwood and her staff these neighbors will be safer daily as they retrieve their mail and Sycamore Park District’s soccer complex is going to benefit Sycamore’s youth for many, many years to come.  After almost a year of working on this Lauren Underwood got the job done in a short amount of time,” said Michelle Schulz, Vice President of Sycamore Park District Board.

Chante from McHenry

In September 2019, Congresswoman Underwood helped McHenry resident Chante Kendall secure $44,035 in Social Security benefits. Chante contacted Congresswoman Underwood’s office and reported that she had been pursuing a disability case for two years and was experiencing homelessness. Congresswoman Underwood and her team contacted the Social Security Administration right away and within several weeks secured a fair, favorable decision for Chante Kendall.

"I would like to thank you all for your help and support. I was losing hope and when Lauren Underwood staff jumped in to help me, it gave me hope," Chante from McHenry. 

Donna McCormack from Batavia

In August 2019, Congresswoman Underwood helped Batavia resident Donna McCormack secure her $6,476.76 federal tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which was months overdue. In under one month, Underwood’s team identified the error delaying Donna’s refund and returned her money.

“I had been trying to receive my federal tax return for five months. So, I went to Congresswoman Underwood’s office in West Chicago, filled out a form, and was assigned to a caseworker to help resolve my refund request. Within one month, I received my tax refund from the IRS. Everyone in Underwood’s office was very receptive to my problem and helped solve it,” said Donna From Batavia.

Jamie Schumacher from Geneva

In March 2020, Geneva resident, Susan Arch, wrote Congresswoman Underwood on behalf of her neighbor Jamie Schumacher who was unable to return home on her flight from Haiti, as a result of steps taken by the country to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by shutting down local airports. Over the course of three days, Underwood and staff worked around the clock with the U.S. Department of State to provide the constituent a means to get out of Haiti by a chartered commercial flight. On March 25, 2020, Schumacher was able to return home safely.

“I was overwhelmed with the reawakened awareness that THIS is how government works: each of us is truly represented by an elected official who works on our behalf in Washington.”

“From the moment the Haitian president closed the airports on March 19 to the moment the plane took off on March 23, I felt anxious. However, that anxiety was often lessened by the knowledge that folks back in the States were speaking for me and making my story known. Representative Underwood and staff: you were an answer to prayer, and I will forever be grateful to you for the role you played in bringing me home during this crisis.” -Jamie Schumacher from Geneva

Steven from Harvard

In April 2020, Congresswoman Underwood helped Harvard resident Steven Sorenson understand how the CARES Act would impact his family and whether he would receive the $1,200 economic impact payment. Steven had a unique situation and was not able to find reliable information online.

“I reached out to Congresswoman Underwood’s office for help with my family’s unique situation with regards to the 2020 stimulus bill. After much effort, I had found no answers to my unique questions until Emily Caplan was able to ascertain the information needed to our unusual situation… I applaud Emily Caplan and the others from her office which aided my family. Thank you," said Steven. 

Alvaro from Antioch

In January 2020, Congresswoman Underwood helped Antioch resident, Alvaro Fuentes, whose niece lost her passport after moving abroad as a child.  In less than two weeks Mr. Fuentes’ niece was approved for a new passport.

"The support and assistance of Representative Underwood and her team was key for my niece to get her passport that she couldn’t get for a long time after losing it while living abroad. I am thrilled, not only for the effectiveness of the assistance, but also for the willingness to help and the kindness of the team. I can’t thank you enough," said Alvaro.

Sonia Martinez from Lake in the Hills, IL

In April, Congresswoman Underwood helped Lake in the Hills resident, Sonia Martinez, who was seeking help to receive back-due Social Security benefits that were owed to her deceased father. In less than two months Underwood was able to help Sonia and her family receive the funds that were owed to them.

"I contacted Congresswoman Underwood's office after my father won a case for disability with Social Security. They owed him backpay for the case taking so long to close. After he finally won his case he, unfortunately, passed away due to his illness. Social Security was taking a long time to release the money owed. My mother started struggling with bills on her own, and I decided to get help. When I contacted Congresswoman Underwood, she took down all my information, and I sent her all the documents needed. Her office kept me updated all the time with any news. I was so surprised to see that she was able to get social Security to release the money and it didn’t take long at all. I am so thankful for her and the help she provided. I’m so glad I contacted the Congresswoman, and I would recommend her to anyone that needs help," said Sonia. 

Suneel from Naperville, IL 

In May 2020, Congresswoman Underwood helped Naperville resident, Suneel receive accurate updates regarding his Green Card Application that was outside of normal processing times.  

“I am very grateful for Representative Underwood and her staff for assisting me in getting an update from USCIS for our green card applications. She cared for us! We got approval for our greens after 11 years of waiting," said Suneel P.

Ninad from Plainfield, IL 

In April 2020, Congresswoman Underwood was contacted by Plainfield resident, Ninad, whose wife was trying to return home to the U.S. from India amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but unable to secure a flight home. Underwood immediately contacted the State Department to help secure Ninad’s wife a seat on the last scheduled evacuation flight from India.

 

“Out of desperation, I reached out to Congresswoman Underwood for help. Within hours her staff reached out to me to collect details about my wife. Congresswoman Underwood and her staff called numerous times to the State Department and U.S. Consulate in Mumbai to inquire about my wife’s evacuation status.  Finally, a day before the last scheduled evacuation flight from Mumbai, my wife received a call from U.S. Consulate in Mumbai to tell her that she has a confirmed seat on the last flight. My wife and I are grateful for Congresswoman Underwood and her staff to take a personal interest in our situation and help my wife come back to the United States. Due to her efforts, my wife was able to celebrate both of our kid’s birthdays. More than that, I was able to get my partner back with whom I can share my parenting duties in this difficult time,” said Ninad. 

 

Deb O from Aurora

In July, Congresswoman Underwood helped Deb receive her tax refund. Deb filed her taxes in January and followed all IRS instructions but in July she still hadn’t received her tax refund. When Deb contacted Rep. Underwood she had just been told she wouldn’t receive her return until October.  Rep. Underwood contacted the IRS on Deb’s behalf and opened a case with the taxpayer advocates. Two weeks after contacting Rep. Underwood, Deb received her tax refund.

“I sent my taxes in January 2020, the IRS required more data, I compiled and they started to process my return in March. I kept checking their web site to see when my return was finished and when I could expect my refund. I finally was able to contact the IRS in July and was told to expect my return in October! I called Lauren’s office, explained my problem to Emily and two weeks later received my refund! Great job guys! Thanks so much!”

Robert Fullone from Warrenville

In August 2019, Robert and Tassanne Fullone contacted Congresswoman Underwood regarding a clerical error made by U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) while processing her citizenship application. Underwood worked with USCIS and the agency agreed to re-open her case. In August 2020, the Fullone’s received a positive resolution and Tassanee attended her Naturalization ceremony on August 24, 2020.   

“My wife Tassanne and I contacted Rep. Underwood's office last year regarding her citizenship petition. Her case was held up due to an oversight on the part of [USCIS]. Due to the help and assistance of Rep. Underwood, my wife received her citizenship on August 24. Your regular emails every month assured us that you were doing all you could to help her gain citizenship. You have helped to restore confidence with our elected officials.”

Vibha Chetan  

 In July 2020, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood contacted USCIS regarding the status of Vibha’s EAD (Employment Authorization Document) renewal. As a Teaching Assistant, the constituent needed the authorization so that she could teach and support students throughout the 2020-2021 schoolyear. With the Congresswoman’s help, Vibha received her approved I-539 application within a week. 

 “I contacted the office of Rep. Underwood to get an update on my EAD (Employment Authorization Document) renewal. I had applied for renewal along with my husband’s and my non-immigrant petition on January 27, 2020. My EAD expired on May 1st. Through my husband received his renewal in 10 days, I was not so lucky. I work as a TA in IPSD 204. With the schools reopening in September, I was unable to get any update on my EAD. After contacting the office of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, I not only got an update on the status of my EAD but also my petition extension. One month later I requested to expedite my care on humanitarian grounds. Within a week I received my approval. This wouldn’t have happened without the help of Ms. Caplan.” 

Raj Malik

In August 2020, Congresswoman Underwood helped reschedule the Green Card application interview for Raj's brother. Raj's family had been waiting for months to hear back from USCIS after his appointment was canceled due to COVID-19. The constituents' application was urgent and required immediate attention. Congresswoman Underwood understood the time-sensitivity of the situation and due to her involvement, Raj’s brother quickly scheduled for an interview.

“My elder brother is mentally challenged. His interview for Green Card was canceled by USCIS due to COVID. We were not sure of the new interview date even after months of waiting. The Office of Congresswoman, realizing the urgency of the matter, due to mental condition of my brother, helped us by immediately following up with USCIS and getting the interview rescheduled quickly. This has been such a big help to my brother and our family. We are so grateful to Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and her team for their kind and sincere efforts.”

Jill S from Sycamore

In December 2020, Congresswoman Underwood helped expedite the processing of a time sensitive document with the State Department. This document allowed Jill’s family to proceed with their visa application to move abroad.

“We contacted the office of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood to help with paperwork from the State Department that we needed to obtain a visa application. We are a family of four applying for a non-lucrative visa for Spain to do a year abroad with our children. One of our documents was tied up in the State Dept. waiting for an Apostille. The documents are very time sensitive and the delay could have cost us our opportunity to apply for the visa. Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s office was able to make a request on our behalf to get the paperwork expedited. Emily Caplan was our liaison for the Congresswoman’s office. She was professional and knowledgeable as she worked on our behalf. She kept in constant communication with us regarding our paperwork. We are very pleased with everything Congresswoman Underwood’s office has helped us with.”

Abby O from Montgomery

In August 2020, Abby Ogundimu contacted Congresswoman Underwood when her social security disability application was stalled in the review process. After contacting the Social Security Agency (SSA) Congresswoman Underwood received notice that Ms. Ogundimu’s application received a favorable determination.

“I contacted the office of Rep Underwood regarding my social security disability application. I filled in on August 14th of 2020, and my long-term disability at work was terminated. Although I did appeal the termination, it is still in review. I had no income and had limited resources, so I reached out to Rep Underwood's office on January 27th and received an immediate response. They started to help me follow up on the progress of my application. Emily was assigned to me, and she kept me up to date on my application's progress. She is the most kindhearted person that I have ever come across. She is very supportive and empathetic. She goes above and beyond the call of duty.  My social security disability is now approved. This excellent work for the poor and needy is the type of work our elected officials do, and the office of congresswoman Underwood has been fighting and continues to fight for the good of her constituency.”

For more information on how Underwood’s office can help, constituents may contact her district offices at 630-549-2190 or visit underwood.house.gov.