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The particular record or document the the direct costs of the agency providin copy of which is desired and whether the service. This includes cases wher certified and validated, or uncertified, the fee for the service would be in (2) the purpose for which such copy is cluded in a billing against the Govern desired to be used.

ment (for example, in cost-type CO2 (b) The types of services provided by tracts, or in the case of private physithe Department of Veterans Affairs for cians who are treating Governmeni which fees will be charged are identi beneficiaries at Government expense). fied in paragraph (i) of this section.

(3) When a service is occasional and (c) This section applies to the serv incidental, not of a type that is re ices furnished in paragraph (b) of this quested often, and if it is administrasection when rendered to members of tively determined that a fee would be the public by the Department of Vet inappropriate in such an occasioni erans Affairs. It does not apply to such case. services when rendered to or for other (f) When information, statistics, or agencies or branches of the Federal reports are released or furnished unde Government, or State and local govern- $1.501 or $1.519, the fee charge, if any. ments when furnishing the service will will be determined upon the merits of help to accomplish an objective of the each individual application. Department of Veterans Affairs, or (g) In those cases where it is deterwhen performed in connection with a mined that a fee shall be charged, the special research study or compilation applicant will be advised to deposit the when the party requesting such serv amount of the lawful charge for the ices is charged an amount for the copy desired. The amount of such whole job.

charge will be determined in accord(d) When copies of a record or docu ance with the schedule of fees prement are furnished under $$1.506, 1.507, scribed in paragraph (i) of this section, 1.510, and 1.514, such copies shall be The desired copy will not be delivered supplied without charge. Moreover, except under court subpoena, until the free service may be provided, to the ex full amount of the lawful charge is de tent of one copy, to persons who have posited. Any excess deposit of $1 or been required to furnish original docu- more over the lawful charge will be rements for retention by the Department turned to the applicant. Excess deposof Veterans Affairs.

its of less than $1 will be returned upon (e) The following are circumstances request. When a deposit is received under which services may be provided with an application, such a deposit will free at the discretion of facility heads be returned to the applicant should the or responsible Central Office officials: application be denied.

(1) When requested by a court, when (h) Copies of reports or records rethe copy will serve as a substitute for ceived from other Government departpersonal court appearance of a Govern- ments or agencies will not be furnished ment witness.

except as provided in $1.513. (2) When furnishing the service free (i) Fees to be charged-(1) Schedule of saves costs or yields income equal to fees:

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(i) Duplication of document by any type of reproduction process to produce plain one-sided $0.15 per page after first 100 paper copies of a standard size (812" x 11"; 812" x 14"; 11" x 14").

one-sided pages. (ii) Duplication of non-paper records, such as microforms, audiovisual materials (motion pic-Actual direct cost to the Agency

tures, slides, laser optical disks, video tapes, audiotapes, etc.) computer tapes and disks, as defined in $ 1.555(a)(2) of diskettes for personal computers, and any other automated media output.

this part to the extent that pertains to the cost of duplica

tion, (iii) Duplication of documents by any type of reproduction process not covered by para. Actual direct cost to the Agency

graphs (1) 0) and (ii) of this section to produce a copy in a form reasonably usable by a as defined in $ 1.555(a)(2) of requester,

this part to the extent that it pertains to the cost of duplication.

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(iv) Providing special information, statistics, reports, drawings, specifications, lists of names Actual cost to the Agency includ

and addresses (either in paper or machine readable form), computer or other machine ing computer and manual readable output.

search costs, copying costs, labor, and material and over

head expenses. (v) Attestation under the seal of the Agency ...........

$3.00 per document so certified. (vi) Providing abstracts or copies of medical and dental records to insurance companies for $10.00 per request.

other than litigation purposes. (vii) Providing files under court subpoena

Actual direct cost to the Agency.

(NOTE. I VA regularly contracts for duplicating services related to providing the requested records, such as the duplication of microfilm or architect's plans and drawings, the contractor fees may be included in the actual direct cost to the Agency)

(2) Benefit records. When VA benefit records are requested by a VA beneficiary or applicant for VA benefits, the duplication fee for one complete set of such records will be waived.

(b) A denial action not reversed by a field facility, administration, or staff office head on appeal, will be referred through normal channels to the General Counsel.

(c) The final agency decision in such appeals will be made by the General Counsel or the Deputy General Counsel. (32 FR 10850, July 25, 1967, as amended at 55 FR 21546, May 25, 1990)

RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM DE

PARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS RECORDS OTHER THAN CLAIMANT RECORDS

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5702(b))

(j) If the copy is to be transmitted by certified or registered mail, airmail, or special delivery mail, the postal fees therefor shall be added to the other fees provided in paragraph (i) of this section (or the order must include postage stamps or stamped return envelopes for the purpose).

(k) Those Department of Veterans Affairs installations not having copying equipment are authorized to arrange with the nearest Department of Veterans Affairs installation having such equipment to make the necessary authorized copies of records or documents.

(1) Administration, staff office, and field facility heads are authorized to designate employees to certify copies of records and papers furnished under the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section.

NOTE: Sections 1.550 through 1.559 concern the availability and release of information from files, records, reports, and other papers and documents in Department of Veterans Affairs custody other than those pertaining to claims under any of the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. As to the release of information from Department of Veterans Affairs claimant records, see $$1.500 through 1.527. Section 1.550 series implement the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552. [40 FR 12656, Mar. 20, 1975]

AUTHORITY: Sections 1.550 to 1.559 issued under 72 Stat. 1114; 38 U.S.C. 501.

(19 FR 3224, June 2, 1954, as amended at 32 FR 10850, July 25, 1967; 33 FR 9342, June 26, 1968; 35 FR 20001, Dec. 31, 1970; 37 FR 2676, Feb. 4, 1972; 39 FR 3938, Jan. 31, 1974; 53 FR 10376, Mar. 31, 1988; 54 FR 34980, Aug. 23, 1989)

$ 1.527 Administrative review.

(a) Any person may, in the event of a denial of his or her request to inspect or obtain information from or copies of records within the purview of $81.501 through 1.526, appeal such denial. Such appeal, stating the circumstances of the denial, should be addressed, as appropriate, to the field facility, administration, or staff office head.

$ 1.550 General.

The Department of Veterans Affairs policy is one of disclosure of information from agency records to the extent permitted by law. This includes the release of information which the Department of Veterans Affairs is authorized to withhold under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) (see $1.554) if it is determined: (a) By the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or the Deputy Secretary that disclosure of such information will serve a useful purpose or (b) by an administration, staff office, or field facility head or designee under $1.556(a) that disclosure

will not adversely affect the proper made available to the public upon reconduct of official business or con quest. stitute an invasion of personal privacy. (c) When publishing or making avail

able to the public any opinion, order, [40 FR 12656, Mar. 20, 1975)

statement of policy, interpretation. $1.551 [Reserved)

staff manual or instruction to stafi.

identifying details will be deleted, and $ 1.552 Public access to information the deletion justified in writing, to the

that affects the public when not extent required to prevent a clearly unpublished in the Federal Register warranted invasion of personal privacy. as constructive notice.

(d) No final order, opinion, statement (a) All final orders in such actions as of policy, interpretation, staff manua entertained by the Contract Appeals or instruction which is issued, adopted Board, those statements of policy and or promulgated after July 4, 1967, that interpretations adopted by the Depart affects any member of the public mar ment of Veterans Affairs but not pub be relied upon, used, or cited as precelished in the FEDERAL REGISTER, and dent against any private party unless adm

vinistrative manuals and staff in- it has been indexed and either made structions that affect any member of

available or published as provided in the public, unless promptly published this section or unless that private and copies offered for sale, will be kept

party shall have actual and timely nocurrently indexed by the office of pri- tice of the terms thereof. mary program responsibility or the (32 FR 10850, July 25, 1967, as amended at 4 Manager, Administrative Services, as FR 12657, Mar. 20, 1975) determined by the Secretary or designee. Such index or indexes or supple

$ 1.553 Public access to other reason ments thereto will be promptly pub ably described records. lished, quarterly or more frequently, (a) Except for requests for records and distributed (by sale or otherwise) which are processed under $81.551 anci unless the Department of Veterans Af- 1.552 of this part, unless otherwise pro fairs determines by order published in vided for in title 38, Code of Federa the FEDERAL REGISTER that publica- Regulations, all requests for records tion would be unnecessary and imprac- shall be processed under paragraph (b ticable, in which case the Department of this section, as well as under any of Veterans Affairs will nonetheless other VA law or regulation governing provide copies of such index or indexes access to or confidentiality of records or supplements thereto on request at a or information. Records or information cost not to exceed the direct cost of du customarily furnished to the public in plication. Both the index and the mate- the regular course of the performance rials indexed as required by this para- of official duties may be furnished to graph will be made available to the the public without reference to parapublic, for inspection and copying. graph (b) of this section. To the extent Public reading facilities for this pur- permitted by other laws and regulapose will be maintained in Department tions, VA will also consider making of Veterans Affairs Central Office and available records which it is permitted Department of Veterans Affairs field to withhold under the FOIA if it deterfacilities, open to the public during the mines that such disclosure could be in normal duty hours of the office in the public interest. which located. Orders made in the ad- (b) Reasonably described records in judication of individual claims under VA custody, or copies thereof, other laws administered by the Department than records made available to the of Veterans Affairs are confidential and public under provisions of $$1.551 and privileged by statute (38 U.S.C. 5701) 1.552 of this part, or unless otherwise and so are exempt from this require provided for in title 38, Code of Federal ment.

Regulations, requested in accordance (b) The voting records of the Con- with published rules stating the time, tract Appeals Board will be maintained place, fees (if any), and procedures to in a public reading facility in the Of- be followed, will be made promptly fice of the Board in Central Office and available, except as provided in $1.554

of this part, to any person upon re- holidays) after receipt of the appeal. If quest. Such request must be in writing, on appeal the denial is in whole or in over the signature of the requester and part upheld the Department of Vetmust contain a reasonable description erans Affairs will notify the requester of the record desired so that it may be of the provisions for judicial review of located with relative ease. The request this determination. (See $$ 1.557 and should be made to the office concerned 1.558.) (having jurisdiction of the record de (d) In unusual circumstances, specifisired) or, if not known, to the Director cally as follows, the time limits in or Veterans Service Center Manager in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section the nearest VA regional office; the Di may be extended by written notice to rector, or Chief, Medical Administra the requester setting forth the reasons tion Service, or other responsible offi for such extension and the date on cial of VA medical facility where most which a determination is expected to recently treated; or to the Department be dispatched. The date specified will of Veterans Affairs Central Office, 810 not result in an extension for more Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC than 10 working days. Unusual cir20420. Personal contacts should nor

cumstances will be interpreted to mean, mally be made during the regular duty but only to the extent reasonably nechours of the office concerned, which essary to the proper processing of the are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through

particular request, as follows: Friday for VA Central Office and most

(1) The need to search for and collect field facilites.

the requested records from field facili(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3))

ties or other establishments that are (53 FR 10377, Mar. 31, 1988, as amended at 71

separate from the office processing the FR 28586, May 17, 2006)

request;

(2) The need to search for, collect, $ 1.553a Time limits for Department of and appropriately examine a volumi

Veterans Affairs response to re nous amount of separate and distinct quests for records.

records which are demanded in a single (a) When a request for records made request; or under $ 1.551, $1.552 or $1.553 is received

(3) The need for consultation, which it will be promptly referred for action

shall be conducted with all practicable to the proper employee designated in speed, with another agency having a accordance with $1.556 to take initial substantial interest in the determinaaction on granting or denying requests tion of the request or among two or to inspect or obtain information from more components of the Department of or copies of the records described.

Veterans Affairs having substantial (b) Any such request will then be subject-matter interest therein. promptly evaluated and a determina (e) Pursuant to section 552(a)(6), title tion made within 10 days (excepting 5 U.S.C., any person making a request Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public to the Department of Veterans Affairs holidays) after the receipt of the re for records under section 552(a) (1), (2) quest whether the Department of Vet or (3) (see $$ 1.551, 1.552 and 1.553) will be erans Affairs will comply with the re- deemed to have exhausted his or her quest. Upon determination to comply administrative remedies with respect or deny the request the person making to such request if the Department of the request will be notified imme- Veterans Affairs fails to comply with diately of the determination and the the applicable time limit provisions of reasons therefor, and of the right of the this section. If, however, the Governperson to appeal to the Secretary of ment can show exceptional cirVeterans Affairs any adverse deter cumstances exist and that the Departmination. Records to be furnished will ment of Veterans Affairs is exercising be supplied promptly.

due diligence in responding to the re(c) Upon receipt of such an appeal quest, the statute also permits the from an adverse determination it will court to retain jurisdiction and allow be evaluated and a further determina- the Department of Veterans Affairs adtion made within 20 days (excepting ditional time to complete its review of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public the records.

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