Monday, October 19, 2009

FOIA and the Veterans Administration

The Department of Veterans Affairs is organized into three large Administrations (the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration) and a number of management offices. Additionally, each Administration has a large number of subordinate field activities. Within VA, each Administration, management office and field activity processes its own records.

Because, over time, individual employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs may change job positions, it is not recommended that you address your request to a specific person. Rather, you should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" on the front of your request envelope and also at the beginning of your request letter. In this way you will be sure that the responsible individual receives your request without delay.

If you know the office that maintains the records you are seeking, you should write directly to that office or contact the VA Central Office FOIA/Privacy Act Officer for the custodian of the record. If you do not know, submit the request as follows:

• For medical records, 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.

• For National Cemetery records, to the Director, National Cemetery Area Office, or to the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, National Cemetery Administration, VA Central Office.

• For other benefits records, to the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer at the VA Regional Office serving the individual's jurisdiction, or to the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer of the
Veterans Benefits Administration, VA Central Office. The VA Toll-Free number (1-800-827-1000) will connect you to the nearest regional office.

• For all Inspector General records, to the Office of the Inspector General, VA Central Office.

• For all other records, to the VA FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, VA Central Office.

The address for the VA FOIA/ Privacy Act Officer is:

Department of Veterans Affairs Director
Records Management Service (005R1B)
810 Vermont Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20420

More information can be found here.

1 comment:

Robert Osenenko said...

I would just make one addition to this fine article. That is, make certain before you leave the military go to admin. inspect your personnel and medical jacket for completeness. Make sure, if you are injured there is a medical declaration of it and the appropriate medals received. Carry this copy home, do not surrender it, give over only a copy to authorized persons.