Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Agency Help

General Privacy Release Form

We're here to help if you have a problem with a federal agency. Fill out the Privacy Release form (you can download it here) to get started. Please note: Members of Congress are only allowed to assist people within their districts. I represent Tennessee's 5th District including Davidson and Dickson Counties and most of Cheatham County. Not sure which district you live in? Click here to check.

What sort of issues can you help me with? 
If you have an issue that involves any federal agency – like IRS, VA, SSA, Medicare or your even U.S. Passport  - my office can check into your case and submit an inquiry on your behalf.

For assistance with an issue involving a state agency or department including TennCare, unemployment benefits, vital records, DMV, and child support, you should contact your representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly (look them up here), or contact the office of the Governor.

For assistance with a metro issue, please contact your mayor’s office or your metro councilperson.

Not sure where to start? Call my Nashville office (615-736-5295) or 1-800-FED-INFO for assistance.

I need your help with a federal issue. Now what do I do?
First, call our Nashville office (615-736-5295) and get connected with the appropriate caseworker. Make sure to write down your new contact’s e-mail address so you’ll have it for the next step.

Next, you’ll need to fill out a Privacy Release Form so that we will have the authority to ask questions on your behalf.

Fax or e-mail the completed form as soon as possible so we can get to work. The main fax number is 615-736-7479.

Can you help me with my legal case or court hearing?
No. Strict rules prohibit Members of Congress and their staffs from recommending an attorney, giving legal advice or intervening in any issue that is also in a court proceeding.

If you need help finding an attorney, please refer to the following organizations: Nashville Bar Association Referral Service, or the Legal Aid Society.

Can you help me expedite my claim or application with a Federal agency? 

Each agency has set criteria for considering expedite requests. You should first contact the agency/office where your claim or application is being processed directly to determine what is required for the agency to consider expediting your case.

If you have trouble contacting the agency, please contact my Nashville office.

The federal agency has denied my claim/application. Can you help me appeal the decision?
A Congressman cannot compel any agency to decide an issue in your favor, or to overturn a decision that is final. But, we can check the status of your case or ask for clarification on the reason for a denial. Some agencies have appeals that we can help with, while some decisions are final. You should first contact the agency for information on your appeal options if your case has been denied. 

I’m trying to get a VISA from another country to visit. What can you do?
Visa applications are solely controlled by foreign governments. A U.S. Congressman has no power or jurisdiction over the process, and there is no “weighing in” that is every all that effective.  In fact, many foreign governments outsource the visa work to private contractors, so there is no “government person” that can be reached and persuaded.

Always check the rules and directions outlined in your visa application’s guidelines. Allow plenty of extra time for the process. If you run into problems, contact the appropriate Embassy. Try to find the contact name of the person working on your application, even if it is being processed through a private contractor.

Any other helpful tips?

  • Have an extra copy of your records and documents ready to share with your caseworker. We’ll add it to your file, and we’ll have a complete picture of your issue as we work with the agency.
  • It’s always recommended that you try to resolve a problem directly with the agency involved before contacting my office.
  • Many people contact their Congressman and both Senators about their issue. But please be aware: this can cause extra delays for your case.  Once we contact an agency on your behalf, your case is assigned to a certain contact. Duplicating inquiries causes the process to be disrupted, reassigned, and often results in delays.

Please Note: The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) requires that Members of Congress or their staff have written authorization before they can obtain information about an individual's case.
We must have your signature to proceed with this type of request.