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(b) VA shall require mandatory dis- 1974, (Pub. L. 93-579), or, where required closure of a claimant's or beneficiary's by another statute. (Pub. L. 97-365, sec. social security number (including the 4) social security number of a dependent

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5101) of a claimant or beneficiary) on necessary forms as prescribed by the Sec- [44 FR 22068, Apr. 13, 1979, as amended at 51 retary as a condition precedent to re

FR 21750, June 16, 1986; 56 FR 25044, June 3 ceipt or continuation of receipt of com

1991] pensation or pension payable under the provisions of chapters 11, 13 and 15 of

$ 1.576 General policies, conditions of

disclosure, accounting of certain title 38, United States Code, provided,

disclosures, and definitions. however, that a claimant shall not be required to furnish VA with a social se

(a) The Department of Veterans Afcurity number for any person to whom

fairs will safeguard an individual a social security number has not been

against an invasion of personal priassigned. VA may also require manda

vacy. Except as otherwise provided by tory disclosure of an applicant's social

law or regulation its officials and emsecurity number as a condition for re

ployees will: ceiving loan guaranty benefits and a

(1) Permit an individual to determine social security number or other tax- what records pertaining to him or her payer identification number from ex

will be collected, maintained, used, or isting direct and vendee loan borrowers disseminated by the Department of and as a condition precedent to receipt

Veterans Affairs. of a VA-guaranteed loan, direct loan or

(2) Permit an individual to prevent vendee loan, under chapter 37 of title records pertaining to him or her, ob38, United States Code. (Pub. L. 97–365,

tained by the Department of Veterans sec. 4)

Affairs for a particular purpose, from (c) A person requested by VA to dis- being used or made available for anclose a social security number shall be other purpose without his or her contold, as prescribed by $1.578(c), whether

sent. disclosure is voluntary or mandatory.

(3) Permit an individual to gain acThe person shall also be told that VA is cess to information pertaining to him requesting the social security number or her in Department of Veterans Afunder the authority of title 38 U.S.C., fairs records, to have a copy made of or in the case of existing direct or all or any portion thereof, and to corvendee loan borrowers, under the au- rect or amend such records. thority of 26 U.S.C. 6109(a) in conjunc- (4) Collect, maintain, use, or dissemition with sections 145 and 148 of Pub. L. nate any record of identifiable personal 98–369, or in the case of loan applicants, information in a manner that assures under the authority of section 4 of Pub.

that such action is for a necessary and L. 97–365. The person shall also be told lawful purpose, that the information is that it will be used in the administra- correct and accurate for its intended tion of veterans' benefits in the identi- use, and that adequate safeguards are fication of veterans or persons claim- provided to prevent misuse of such ining or receiving VA benefits and their formation. records, that it may be used in making (5) Permit exemptions from records reports to the Internal Revenue Serv- requirements provided in 5 U.S.C. 552a ice where required by law, and to deter- only where an important public policy mine whether a loan guaranty appli- need for such exemption has been decant has been identified as a delinquent termined pursuant to specific statutaxpayer by the Internal Revenue Serv- tory authority. ice, and that such taxpayers may have (b) The Department of Veterans Aftheir loan applications rejected, and fairs will not disclose any record conthat it may be used to verify social se- tained in a system of records by any curity benefit entitlement (including means of communication to any person amounts payable) with the Social Se- or any other agency except by written curity Administration and, for other request of or prior written consent of purposes where authorized by both the individual to whom the record pertitle 38 U.S.C., and the Privacy Act of tains unless such disclosure is:

(1) To those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record and who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties;

(2) Required under 5 U.S.C. 552;

(3) For a routine use of the record compatible with the purpose for which it was collected;

(4) To the Bureau of the Census for purposes of planning or carrying out a census or survey or related activity pursuant to title 13 U.S.C.;

(5) To a recipient who has provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable;

(6) To the National Archives of the United States as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the U.S. Government, or for evaluation by the Administrator of General Services or designee to determine whether the record has such value;

(7) To another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the Department of Veterans Affairs specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought;

(8) To a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual;

(9) To either House of Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any

committee or subcommittee thereof, any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee;

(10) To the Comptroller General, or any authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the General Accounting Office; or

(11) Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) With respect to each system of records (i.e., a group of records from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual) under Department of Veterans Affairs control, the Department of Veterans Affairs will (except for disclosures made under paragraph (b)(1) or (2) of this section) keep an accurate accounting as follows:

(1) For each disclosure of a record to any person or to another agency made under paragraph (b) of this section, maintain information consisting of the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure, and the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure is made;

(2) Retain the accounting made under paragraph (c)(1) of this section for at least 5 years or the life of the record, whichever is longer, after the disclosure for which the accounting is made;

(3) Except for disclosures made under paragraph (b)(7) of this section, make the accounting under paragraph (c)(1) of this section available to the individual named in the record at his or her request; and

(4) Inform any person or other agency about any correction or notation of dispute made by the agency in accordance with $1.579 of any record that has been disclosed to the person or agency if an accounting of the disclosure was made.

(d) For the purposes of $$ 1.575 through 1.584, the parent of any minor, or the legal guardian of any individual who has been declared incompetent due to physical or mental incapacity or age by a court of competent jurisdiction, may act on behalf of the individual.

(e) Section 552a(i), title 5 U.S.C., provides that:

(1) Any officer or employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, who by virtue of his or her employment or official position, has possession of, or access to, Department of Veterans Affairs records which contain individually identifiable information the disclosure of which is prohibited by 5 U.S.C. 552a or by $1.575 series established thereunder, and who knowing that disclosure of the specific material is so prohibited, willfully discloses the material in any manner to any person or agency not entitled to receive it, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(2) Any officer or employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) (see $1.578(d)) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(3) Any person who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any record concerning an individual from the Department of Veterans Affairs under false pretenses shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(f) For purposes of $1.575 series the following definitions apply:

(1) The term agency includes any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency.

(2) The term individual means a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(3) The term maintain includes maintain, collect, use, or disseminate.

(4) The term record means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, his or her education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history and that contains his or her name, or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph.

(5) The term system of records means a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual.

(6) The term statistical record means a record in a system of records maintained for statistical research or reporting purposes only and not used in whole or in part in making any deter

mination about an identifiable indi. vidual except as provided by section 8 of title 13 U.S.C.

(7) The term routine use means, with respect to the disclosure of a record the use of such record for a purpose which is compatible with the purpose for which it was collected.

(g) When the Department of Veterans Affairs provides by a contract for the operation by or on behalf of the De partment of Veterans Affairs of a sys. tem of records to accomplish a Department of Veterans Affairs function, the Department of Veterans Affairs will. consistent with its authority, caus the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a (as required by subsection (m)) and those of the $1.575 series to be applied to such system. For the purposes of 5 U.S.C. | 552a(i) and $1.576(e) any such contractor and any employee of such coctractor, if such contract is agreed to on or after September 27, 1975, will be considered to be an employee of the De partment of Veterans Affairs.

(h) The Department of Veterans Alfairs will, for the purposes of 5 U.S.C. 552a, consider that it maintains any agency record which it deposits with the Administrator of General Services for storage, processing, and servicing in accordance with section 3103 of title 44 U.S.C. Any such record will be considered subject to the provisions of $1.575 series implementing 5 U.S.C. 552a and any other applicable Department of Veterans Affairs regulations. The Administrator of General Services is not authorized to disclose such a record except to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or under regulations established by the Department of Veterans Affairs which are not inconsistent with 5 U.S.C. 552a.

(i) The Department of Veterans Affairs will, for the purposes of 5 U.S.C. 552a, consider that a record is maintained by the National Archives of the United States if it pertains to an identifiable individual and was transferred to the National Archives prior to September 27, 1975, as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government. Such records are not subject to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a except that a statement generally describing such

records (modeled after the requirements relating to records subject to subsections (e)(4)(A) through (G) of 5 U.S.C. 552a) will be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

(j) The Department of Veterans Affairs will also, for the purposes of 5 U.S.C. 552a, consider that a record is maintained by the National Archives of the United States if it pertains to an identifiable individual and is transferred to the National Archives on or after September 27, 1975, as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government. Such records are exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a except subsections (e)(4) (A) through (G) and (e)(9) thereof. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501) (40 FR 33944, Aug. 12, 1975, as amended at 40 FR 58644, Dec. 18, 1975; 47 FR 16323, Apr. 16, 1982]

$ 1.577 Access to records.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law or regulation any individual upon request may gain access to his or her record or to any information pertaining to him or her which is contained in any system of records maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The individual will be permitted, and upon his or her request, a person of his or her own choosing permitted to accompany him or her, to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him or her. The Department of Veterans Affairs will require, however, a written statement from the individual authorizing discussion of that individual's record in the accompanying person's presence.

(b) Any individual will be notified, upon request, if any Department of Veterans Affairs system of records named contains a record pertaining to him or her. Such request must be in writing, over the signature of the requester. The request must contain a reasonable description of the Department of Veterans Affairs system or systems of records involved, as described at least annually by notice published in the FEDERAL REGISTER describing the existence and character of the Department of Veterans Affairs

system or systems of records pursuant to $1.578(d). The request should be made to the office concerned (having jurisdiction over the system or systems of records involved) or, if not known, to the Director or Department of Veterans Affairs Officer in the nearest Department of Veterans Affairs regional office, or to the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420. Personal contact should normally be made during the regular duty hours of the office concerned, which are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday for Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office and most field facilities. Identification of the individual requesting the information will be required and will consist of the requester's name, signature, address, and claim, insurance or other identifying file number, if any, as a minimum. Additional identifying data or documents may be required in specified categories as determined by operating requirements and established and publicized by the promulgation of Department of Veterans Affairs regulations. (5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(1))

(c) The department or staff office having jurisdiction over the records involved will establish appropriate disclosure procedures and will notify the individual requesting disclosure of his or her record or information pertaining to him or her of the time, place and conditions under which the Department of Veterans Affairs will comply to the extent permitted by law and Department of Veterans Affairs regulation. (5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(2))

(d) Access to sensitive material in records, including medical and psychological records, is subject to the following special procedures. When an individual requests access to his or her records, the Department of Veterans Affairs official responsible for administering those records will review them and identify the presence of any sensitive records. Sensitive records are those that contain information which may have a serious adverse effect on the individual's mental or physical health if they are disclosed to him or her. If, on review of the records, the Department of Veterans Affairs official concludes that there sensitive

are

records involved, the official will refer the records to a Department of Veterans Affairs physician, other than a rating board physician, for further review. If the physician who reviews the records believes that disclosure of the information directly to the individual could have an adverse effect on the physical or mental health of the individual, the responsible Department of Veterans Affairs official will then advise the requesting individual: (1) That the Department of Veterans Affairs will disclose the sensitive records to a physician or other professional person selected by the requesting individual for such redisclosure as the professional person may believe is indicated, and (2) in indicated cases, that the Department of Veterans Affairs will arrange for the individual to report to a Department of Veterans Affairs facility for a discussion of his or her records with a designated Department of Veterans Affairs physician and for an explanation of what is included in the records. Following such discussion, the records should be disclosed to the individual; however, in those extraordinary cases where a careful and conscientious explanation of the information consid

ered harmful in the record has beer made by a Department of Veterans Affairs physician and where it is still the physician's professional medical opinion that physical access to the information could be physically or mentally harmful to the patient, physical access may be denied. Such a denial situation should be an unusual, very infrequen: occurrence. When denial of a request for direct physical access is made, the responsible Department of Veterans Affairs official will: (1) Promptly advise the individual making the request of the denial; (2) state the reasons for the denial of the request (e.g., 5 U.S.C 552a(f)(3), 38 U.S.C. 5701(b)(1)); and (3 advise the requester that the denial may be appealed to the General Counsel and of the procedure for such an appeal.(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(3))

(e) Nothing in 5 U.S.C. 552a, however, allows an individual access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of civil action or proceeding. (5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(5))

(f) Fees to be charged, if any, to any individual for making copies of his or her record shall not include the cost oil any search for and review of the record, and will be as follows:

Activity

Fees (1) Duplication of documents by any type of reproduction process to produce plain one-sided $0.15 per page after first 100 paper copies of a standard size (8!/2" 11"; 81" x 14"; 110x14").

one-sided pages. (2) 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, audio tapes, etc.), computer tapes and disks, as defined in $1.555(a)(2) O diskettes for personal computers, and any other automated media output.

this part to the extent that t pertains to the cost of duplice

tion. (3) Duplication of document by any type of reproduction process not covered by paragraphs Actual direct cost to the Agency (1)(1) or (2) of this section to produce a copy in a form reasonably usable by the requester. as defined in $1.555(a)(2) of

this part to the extent that it pertains to the cost of duplice tion.

tains, the duplication fee for one complete set of such records will be waived.

NOTE. Fees for any activities other than duplication by any type of reproducing process will be assessed under the provisions of $1.526(i) or (j) of this part of any other applicable law.)

(g) When VA benefit records, which are retrievable by name or individual identifier of a VA beneficiary or applicant for VA benefits, are requested by the individual to whom the record per

(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(5)) (38 U.S.C. 501) (40 FR 33944, Aug. 12, 1975, as amended at 47 FR 16323, Apr. 16, 1982; 53 FR 10380, Mar. 31, 1988; 55 FR 21546, May 25, 1990)

$ 1.578 [Reserved]

$ 1.579 Amendment of records.

(a) Any individual may request amendment of any Department of Veterans Affairs record pertaining to him

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