FOIA Requests - Freedom Of Information Act FOIA
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Freedom Of Information Act FOIA

 

FOIA Requests

The VA has a decentralized system for fulfilling FOIA requests. The type of information or records you are seeking will determine the location to which your request should be submitted.

If you (or your authorized representative) are requesting copies of VA records pertaining to yourself (i.e., VA claims records, Military Medical Records, etc.), this is considered a Privacy Act request, and requestors should mail or fax their signed request with the social security number to the VA Intake Center in Janseville, Wisconsin (Note: your request will be fulfilled by the VA Records Management Center as part of the Centralized FOIA initiative):

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
P.O. Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Fax: 844-531-7818
DID: 608-373-6690

**Please DO NOT send Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as social security numbers, or claims numbers via unprotected email as it puts your information at risk.

How To:


 

There are no special forms required to submit a request, however the Department of Veterans Affairs requires that your FOIA request:

  • Be in writing and signed by the person submitting the request.
    • To assist in processing, the request letter envelope, or fax cover sheet of any FOIA request should be marked “Freedom of Information Act Request” If you want a hard copy response a return address must be provided. The requester may also include other contact information, such as telephone number and e-mail address. If the requested records concern your personal privacy or that of another person, then the request must be signed.
  • Reasonably describe the records so that they may be located with a reasonable amount of effort.
  • State your willingness to pay applicable fees.
    • FOIA Fee Information For the purpose of fees only, FOIA divides requesters into three categories: (1) commercial requesters may be charged fees for searching for records, reviewing the records, and photocopying them; (2) educational, noncommercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media are charged for photocopying, after the first 100 pages; (3) all other requesters (requesters who do not fall into any of the other two categories) are charged for photocopying after 100 pages and for time spent searching for records in excess of two hours.
    • The VA charges $0.15 per single-sided page for photocopying. Actual costs are charged for a format other than paper copy, such as computer tapes, disks and videotapes.
    • Fee Waivers Agencies may grant fee waivers if the requester successfully describes that the disclosure of information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
  • Include a daytime telephone number in case we need to contact you.
  • Be submitted to the facility that maintains the records.

Please refer to our sample FOIA request if you seek information that pertains to a certain topic or an individual other than yourself.


 

FOIA SERVICE
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
(005R1C) VACO
Washington, DC 20420
Fax : 202-632-7581

Other Request by E-Mail:
If you want records which are maintained outside of the VA Central Office (VACO), visit the FOIA Offices:


 

An individual has the right to request access to his or her records and make an amendment to any of his or her own VA records under 38 CFR 1.579 and 5 U.S.C 552a.

Access Request: Individuals who request information from their VA records must provide sufficient information to verify their identity and provide assurance that they do not improperly have access to records pertaining to someone else. Request for access to individual’s VA records must be in writing, signed, and must adequately describe the specific information being sought. Request for access to records can be mailed, faxed or provided in person to Release of Information or the Privacy Officer at the facility where Veteran’s records are maintained. Currently, VA does not allow an individual to verify identity by Email.

Amendment request: Amendment requests must be in writing, signed, and must adequately describe the specific information the individual believes to be inaccurate (i.e., faulty or not conforming exactly to truth), incomplete (i.e., unfinished or lacking information needed), irrelevant (i.e., inappropriate or not pertaining to the purpose for which records were collected), or untimely (i.e., before the proper time or prematurely) and the reason for this belief.

The written amendment request must be routed to the facility Privacy Officer where the Veteran’s records are maintained.


 

Under the FOIA's administrative appeal provision and the VA FOIA regulations, a requester has the right to appeal any adverse determination the VA makes on their FOIA request. 

You may file an administrative appeal if:

  • You are not satisfied with a FOIA office's initial determination;
  • You disagree with the center's withholding of information or you might believe that there are additional records responsive to your request that the center failed to locate;
  • You have requested expedited processing or a fee waiver and the FOIA office has not granted that request; or
  • You may appeal a determination that what has been requested is not reasonably described, that a record does not exist or cannot be located, that a record is not readily reproducible in the form or format requested, that the requested information is not a record subject to the FOIA, or a determination regarding the charging of a fee.

Appeal Must be made in Writing

Any administrative appeal to a request must be made in writing within 90 days of any initial decision to deny a request. The letter of appeal should state clearly why the requester disagrees with the determination to withhold records. Both the front of the envelope and the appeal letter should contain the notation: "Freedom of Information Act Appeal"

The final VA decision will be made by the General Counsel or the Deputy General Counsel.

Where to Send the Request

Effective on September 19, 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs will accept FOIA Appeals electronically.  If you filed a FOIA request, you want to file an appeal, and your appeal DOES NOT involve the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), use the following Post Office address, fax or email address to file a FOIA appeal:

Department of Veterans Affairs
General Counsel (024)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Fax: (202) 273-6388
Email Non-OIG Appeals to: ogcfoiaappeals@va.gov 

If you filed a FOIA request with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and you want to file a FOIA appeal, use the following Post Office address, fax, or email address to file an OIG appeal:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of the Inspector General
Office of Counselor (50)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Fax: (202) 495-5859
Email OIG Appeals to: vaoigfoia-appeals@va.gov

Check the Status of your FOIA Request

Contact the FOIA office responsible for the processing of your request at any time. If you have not received an acknowledgment or do not know where your request was forwarded, visit the FOIA Offices:

Click on the buttons inside the tabbed menu to review request types per Administrations.

Veterans Benefits Records

If you seek compensation benefits records contained within a VA claims folder, or military service medical records in VA’s possession, your request will be fulfilled by the VA Records Management Center as part of the Centralized FOIA initiative.

Requestors should mail or fax their FOIA requests to the Intake Center in Janesville, Wisconsin, Department of Veterans Affairs - Claims Intake Center, P.O. Box 4444 Janesville, WI 53547-4444, Fax: 844-531-7818 or DID: 608-373-6690

If you seek other benefits records maintained by VA, to include Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment, Insurance, Loan Guaranty or Education Service, you must submit these records to the FOIA Officer at the VA Regional Office serving the individual's jurisdiction, or to the FOIA Officer of the VBA, VA Central Office.

Find your local VBA regional office

Veterans Health Records

If you seek medical records, you may submit a FOIA request to the Director of the VA Medical Facility where the individual was last treated or to the FOIA Officer at Veterans Health Administration, VA Central Office

Find your VHA medical facility 

National Cemetery Administration Records

National Cemetery Administration (NCA) handles records related to the construction and administration of VA cemeteries, the furnishing of Government headstones or markers, the administration of the Presidential Memorial Certificate Program, and the issuance of grants to States for State veterans' cemeteries.

See where to submit your request to NCA

Military Records

Records of veterans or are completely discharged (with no remaining reserve commitment), or who are retired or have died are available at the National Archives and Records Administration , National personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR).

NPRC-MPR's website

Other Records

If you seek any other type of VA record, those records would be maintained by the VA Central Office.

FOIA contacts in VA Central office

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