Struggling with unemployment? Your state rep may be able to help

Struggling with unemployment? Your state rep may be able to help

Elyssa Duncan
Community Specialist
August 18, 2020
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Unemployment is at a historic high throughout the country, and the disorganization of the system has millions of disgruntled Americans asking “where is my unemployment check?” If you’re one of these individuals impacted by a broken system and are looking for a place to find answers, your state representative may be the best way to resolve unemployment issues.

Contacting your state’s elected legislator is an easy thing to do, once you know how. Here is a quick guide on what they can do for you, and where to start!

What is a state representative?

State representatives serve in the legislative branch of the state government. They serve in their state’s House of Representatives and are involved in the process of making state laws. Though there’s only one group of United State representatives who all work together to make U.S. laws, each state has its own set of state representatives who work independently of those in other states.

Why should you reach out to a state representative?

States are facing surges of unemployment amid the Coronavirus pandemic, countless individuals are finding themselves running around trying to find answers to a neverending list of questions. State legislators and their staff are there to help with situations such as these.

Your state representatives are legislators that are elected to represent YOUR concerns and answer your state-level questions. When contacting your state rep, you want to make sure you’re discussing issues they can directly influence. On a state level, this can be things such as unemployment, local education funding, road maintenance, and police funding.

Steps to contacting state representatives

You have the right to express your opinion on all matters relating to the current political landscape. Representatives have an entire team of staff that are devoted to serving their constituents, and it’s your responsibility to raise concerns and make your voice heard.

Step 1: Figure out who your representative is

The United States House of Representatives provides a public database of contact information for each of your state’s elected officials. When you figure out who your state representative is, take the time to do a little bit of background research about them and the issues they support. Make sure you are using reliable sources such as their official website, social media accounts, and other government pages.

Step 2: Learn how to contact them

Chances are you won’t be finding the cell phone number of your state representative anywhere online. This means when you are “calling your reps,” you’re really “calling your rep’s designated staffer.” But, is calling always the best way to have your voice be heard? It really depends, there are various ways you can reach out.

Phone call
Phone calls may be the most effective way to reach out to your state representative. Whenever possible, reach out to the office directly. You may also call the Capitol switchboard at 866-255-3207 who can direct you to the correct office.

Always let the staffer know what specific issue you are calling about and ask to speak to the correct aide. They are generally very busy, so give your full name and state and get to the point quickly and concisely! Think of it as a quick elevator pitch of your thoughts and concerns.

Email
If you are calling and calling an office but you A) can’t get through or B) their voicemail is full, email is another great way to contact your state representative. Most times, you can find their direct email address on their website. When you’re finished crafting your message, be sure to proofread the subject line and body before hitting send!

Snail-mail letter
Letters, though effective ways to communicate with elected officials, are the slowest method of contact. Due to security measures, all mail and packages must be screened prior to reaching the Capitol. So it may take weeks until your elected official opens your letter.

When writing a letter, be sure to keep it brief (1 page or less), state who you are, and add a personal touch to the overall message.

Social media
Though not as traditional as other methods, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are the newest and arguably, easiest way to contact your state representative.

Phone calls and letters may carry more value in the eyes of lawmakers and congressional aides, contacting your legislators through social media has the unique advantage of occurring in the public’s eye and potentially sparking dialogue. Remember to always be respectful and never use offensive language.


Have you ever reached out to a state representative? What steps did you take?

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Kai Dickerson
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Fantastic tip @Elyssa Duncan - thank you for sharing the steps!

9w
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Nevenka Obradovich
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I have contacted my state rep. But the email I got back was blank and said thank you for contacting my office. And that was it. I havent heard from them again.

9w
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Derek Goolsby
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There is a woman names Christiana Rose and she gave me an email to contact her about my benefits. I think its bogus

9w
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Dennis Luebbert
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LOL. A State Representative is not interested in someone on Unemployment or seeking Unemployment Compensation. When you lose your job, even because of COVID-19, you are a Second class citizen. Especially to an elected government official. Those politicians have no use for the unemployed. Besides, they are all busy trying to help themselves to the good life!

9w
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Lenin Pina
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Great suggestion @Elyssa Duncan . A lot of members have been reporting favorable outcomes with unpaid unemployment and stimulus using this method. Hopefully everyone in need get a view at this info. Thanks :)

9w
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namisha bratcher
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I've contacted a few of my State representatives and I've gotten responses from 2 of them. They ask you for information regarding your issue and they put you on a list. I haven't heard anything from unemployment yet. If I don't hear anything by the end of the week I'll email them again. I'm very persistent.

9w
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namisha bratcher
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No I'm in Georgia. You can get the email addresses from the unemployment website. It lists the government officials.

7w
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Barbara Phillips
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If they are not doing their job they should be fired! They should be serving the people of their state.

5w
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Brooke Warming
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I have called the IRS, no lie 25 times from May until August about my payment. I learnt you tell the agent that cant tell you anything that you need to talk to someone else. They transfer your call to someone who can actually answer questions. I was told, which is a blatant lie, that on my taxes it stated someone could claim me. I am in my late 40's, the last time someone claimed me is when I was 16yrs old. Your trying to tell me, I've been waiting all this time for nothing. I told her there must have been a mistake, it has to be changed, she stated there was a dead line and I t. No, I didnt miss it cause for months, I couldn't get thru, finally I get thru, you cant tell me anything, now I get someone to talk to states I cant get it due to the iRS mess up. REALLY!!! What is this country coming too.....

3w
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