Lawson returns more than $2.4 million to North Florida families

Congressman Al Lawson

WASHINGTON DC — U.S. Rep. Al Lawson recently announced that this year, his office has helped to return more than $2.4 million owed to the citizens of Florida’s Fifth Congressional from the federal government. 

Since January 2020, his office worked to close more than 200 cases and ensured that North Florida residents receive their long-awaited financial reimbursement from several federal agencies.  A few of the top agencies include the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, FEMA and Veterans Affairs.  

“There are many reasons as to why a person’s case may become stagnant, but my team and I have worked hard to break the federal logjam and help citizens of our community get their cases reactivated, back on track or even expedited,” Lawson said.

Jacksonville native Brian Salter was involuntarily separated from his job with the Navy after 14 years of service. He reached out to Rep. Lawson’s office because after a year without pay, he was still not being helped. His staff placed multiple inquiries to the Navy, to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the Board of Corrections, and was able to get Salter’s case reviewed and approved quickly. Salters was awarded 14 years’ worth of back pay. 

“Since I was involuntarily separated with an honorable discharge, I was entitled to Involuntary Separation Pay,” Salter said. “I was supposed to receive those funds immediately – within a week or two after separation from active duty service. I turned to Congressman Al Lawson for help. Sherry, my caseworker, fought for me for 18 months. I don’t think I would have been able to get this pay if it wasn’t for her sheer tenacity and dedication to my case. I cannot express my gratitude enough. I am happy I turned to Congressman Lawson’s office for help with my case.”

Individuals seeking help with a federal agency — such as backlogged veterans’ benefits, stalled tax refunds, issues with social security, the postal service or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, should call Lawson’s office at 904-354-1652 (Jacksonville), 850-558-9450 (Tallahassee) or visit https://lawson.house.gov/services/help-with-a-federal-agency.

Meanwhile, Lawson also announced that the Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union will serve as an approved grantor of federal of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.  PPP loans help struggling small business access cash to keep their doors open and retain employees.  

Lawson is a member of the Financial Services Committee.

After meeting with FAMU FCU officials, and the local minority chamber of commerce, Rep. Lawson spoke with, and wrote, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration urging the approval of the Tallahassee credit union as an approved lender. 

“The FAMU Federal Credit Union serves a unique constituency on Tallahassee’s Southside,” said Lawson.  “Having them as an approved lender will expand access to these loans to the small mom and pop businesses that have been historically underserved. 

“To make it through this pandemic, small businesses across North Florida are relying on this relief. Many are facing a crisis on many fronts, and access to funding is urgently needed.”

“We are honored to be an approved PPP lender and support small businesses through these challenging times,” said Sheilah Montgomery, President/CEO, FAMU FCU. “We deeply understand the needs of the community and are ready to serve.  This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the sustainability of small business.”

PPP loans are loans of up to $10 million for companies with fewer than 500 employees that can be forgiven if companies use most of the money to cover payroll and keep employees on staff. Congress passed a new coronavirus relief bill last December, which authorized the SBA to offer a second round of PPP loans to businesses with significant revenue losses during the pandemic. 

 


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