TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — Several Tampa bay area residents remain confounded by an alphabet soup of federal agencies they claim are falling short of solving problems with benefits they believe they are owed.
One complaint came from a Sebring widow who came to 8 on Your Side when she could not get through to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) about missing paperwork she filed to collect her late husband’s pension.
A Riverview single mother said she is waiting on two years of tax returns snarled in a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Army Veteran Baldomero Vega’s fight for basic benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ended after he recently died without the help he thought he earned while serving in Korea.
Eight on Your Side helped Tampa resident Mary Painter unlock eight months of Social Security benefits.
She acknowledged data that indicates she is not alone in trying to unstick red tape runarounds but like many others helped by Eight on Your Side, Painter said the government should not require a nudge to help taxpayers.
“No, It shouldn’t,” she said. “No, it shouldn’t.”
The data is daunting.
Nearly 144,000 VA cases are in backlog as of September, according to that agency.
At the IRS, a midyear report revealed there were 21.3 million unprocessed paper tax returns, up by more than a million from last year. By August, the taxing agency reported the backlog had been reduced to 8.7 million.
As the feds continue investigating Covid 19 fraud, there are thousands waiting for approved help from the SBA, according to an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration.
As Representative Kathy Castor won her 9th term to represent the 14th district, she was asked how Congress can tackle the issues facing various federal agencies.
“It can be very frustrating,” Castor said. “That’s why I take great pride in what we do in constituent service to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy, and they should not be shy in calling their member of Congress.”