Progress made towards resolving government error that cost man h - KMOV.com

Progress made towards resolving government error that cost man his family vacation

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Robert Cotton says a clerical error means he can't get a passport. Credit: KMOV Robert Cotton says a clerical error means he can't get a passport. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A man who was denied a passport because of an error by the federal government is seeing some progress towards having the issue resolved.

The federal government put a hold on Robert Cotton's passport, halting a family vacation to Bermuda next month.

The feds said he owed child support. Payments, the state of Missouri said were paid off more than 20 years ago.

News 4 found this was a clerical mistake.  

“There has been some progress,” said Cotton.  

Since our questions, we found there has been good news, the state sent letters to Washington D.C. to remove the hold on Cotton's passport.

“That makes me feel good,” said Cotton.  

Attorney Chelsea Merta says unfortunately Cotton’s story isn’t uncommon.

“It’s a system ripe for abuses,” said Merta.  

She represents others who face the same issue and says these clerical mishaps are a result of a fragmented system.

“So there are so many layers in the child support system so you can have three entities under the Department of Social Services all monitoring the same case,” said Merta.  

Cotton says that’s unacceptable.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done within the state and federal government,” said Cotton.

Both the state and the federal government told News 4 they can’t comment specifically on Cotton’s case for legal reasons, but they did say they are working to fix this issue.

“Just send me the passport, if I don’t make this trip maybe I can make a trip,” said Cotton.  

News 4 reached out to local congressmen to see if they’ll step in on other cases.

They say if you’re in this situation you can reach out to your state representative who would then contact the federal government on your behalf.

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