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

 

FOIA Requests

How are VA FOIA Requests Handled?

The VA FOIA program is decentralized to ensure the correct VA Administration processes your request. The type of information or records you are seeking will determine where to send your request.

How to Determine Which Type of Records You are Requesting?

Select a VA Administration Office below to review record types and contacts regarding your record interests. If you are still not sure where to send your request, please contact the VA FOIA Services

 

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Records

If you, or your authorized representative, are requesting your VA records (i.e., VA claims records, Military Medical Records, etc.), this is considered a Privacy Act request. To request records of this nature, your request must contain your original signature and your social security number.

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

To check the status of your request, please contact the Centralized Support Division at:
Customer Service: 888-533-4558
National Call Center: 800-827-1000
Fax: 314-253-4193

For all other VBA records to include Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Insurance, Loan Guaranty or Education Service, submit your request to the VBA Central Office below:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Benefits Administration (20M33)
810 Vermont Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: FOIA.VBACO@va.gov

FOIA Liaison Officer: Angela Davis
Phone: 202-461-9516

For records regarding an ancestor who was a veteran contact National Archives at St. Louis


Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Records

If you or your authorized representative are requesting your medical records, you may submit your request to the FOIA Officer of the VA Medical Center where you last received medical assistance or to the VHA FOIA Officer below.
Find your VHA medical facility

Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration (10P2C1)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: vhafoia2@va.gov
Fax #: (202) 273-9387

FOIA Liaison Officer: Stacy Ekis
Phone: (877) 461-5038

National Cemetery Administration (NCA) Records

If you or your authorized representative are requesting NCA records, you may submit your request to the NCA FOIA Officer or the address below. Some NCA records include construction and administration of VA cemeteries; furnishing of Government headstones or markers; administration of the Presidential Memorial Certificate Program; and issuance of grants to states for state Veterans’ cemeteries.

Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery Administration (43D)
810 Vermont Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: vacovancaf@va.gov

FOIA Liaison Officer: Nikki Benns
Phone: (661) 565-6446

Military Records

Records pertaining to veterans who have been discharged and have no remaining reserve commitment, veterans who have retired, or veterans who 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

  • Subrogation
  • CHAMPVA

If you are requesting information pertaining to Subrogation for VA Billing or CHAMPVA, please review the Office of General Counsel (OGC) site to obtain the most recent information and forms.

If you seek any other type of records, those records are likely to be maintained by any one of the VACO FOIA Offices.

FOIA contacts in VA Central office

How To:

To submit a FOIA Request your request must contain the following:

  • Must be in writing and submitted by letter, fax or email
    • Requests submitted by letter of fax must be sent to the FOIA Office in which you believe the records exist, contain a legible return address, telephone number, and/or email address.
    • Email requests must be submitted to a published VA FOIA mailbox in which you believe the records exist.

If you are unsure of which office contains the records you are requesting you may submit your request directly to vacofoiase@va.gov.

  • Reasonably describe the records so that they may be located with a reasonable amount of effort.
    • Include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter, etc.
    • If you are requesting communications, you must provide the name and/or title of the individual(s) whose communications you are seeking, date time frame, and key terms
  • State your willingness to pay applicable FOIA processing fees.

Fee Categories:

  • Commercial requesters—charged for search time, document review, and duplication
  • News media, educational, and scientific requesters—charged for duplication only after the first 100 pages
  • All other requesters—charged for search time (after two hours) and duplication (the first 100 pages are free)

Current Departmental fees:

  • Duplication at 15 cents per page
  • Search at hourly wage of the person conducting the search plus 16%
  • Review (commercial requesters only) at hourly wage of the person conducting the review plus 16%
  • VA will charge direct costs associated with duplication of non-paper items; records search using automated methods; and other activities such as attesting under seal or certifying that a record are true copies, etc.
  • We do not charge when assessable fees are less than $25.
  • Your submission of a request will be deemed to be an implicit commitment to pay up to $25 in fees, unless you indicate a higher amount or request a fee waiver.
  • You will be promptly notified if the anticipated fees exceed $25.

Fee Waiver

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.

Agencies may grant expedited process if the requester demonstrates a compelling need. A compelling need must be demonstrated in one of the two following ways:

  • By establishing that the failure to obtain the records quickly “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or,
  • If you are primarily engaged in disseminating information, and you demonstrate that an “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists.

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

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