Disabled Veterans Sample FOIA Letter

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FOIA RequestHere are two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letters.

The first one I borrowed from a law firm for disabled veterans requesting copies of their disability claim folder (which will contain your Service Medical Records (SMR’s)). The second is for disabled veterans requesting a copy of their Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) claim folder. These are two separate folders!

The request for the regular SMR will need to go through the regular channels of the VA.  The quickest way to the  Voc Rehab folder is to hand carry the request into the Voc Rehab office. Mix and match whatever language suits you best. If the first one seems too “teethy”, then alter the second to request your SMR’s.

If you check the bottom of this post, I provide a free eBook download of updated and more detailed FOIA and Privacy Act requests just like the ones I use to get my files.

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First FOIA Example

July 18, 2008

Privacy Act Department

Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office

575 N. Pennsylvania St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Re: Mr. Smith’s Claims Folder FOIA Request

css-xxx-xx-xxxx

Dear Staff:

I hereby request a copy of all documents contained in Mr. Smith claims folder, including, but not limited to, all documents in the right flap, left flap, and center flap, and the reverse side of any documents with writing on both sides.

Please note that this request for documents is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as well as 38 C.F.R.§1.550 and 38 C.F.R.  § 1.577.  Your agency has a duty  to respond to this  request within TWENTY (20) DAYS of the date of this request pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(6)(A)(2)(i).

Additionally, although an extension of time to respond may be requested, it may only be granted for “unusual circumstances.” “Predictable agency workload” is not typically considered an unusual circumstance as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(ii).   Moreover, even to the extent that unusual circumstances could be demonstrated in this instance, the time limit for the extension is limited to “10 working days” pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.553(d).

Please also be aware that your agency’s failure to respond to this request within twenty (20) days may result in the filing of an administrative appeal with the office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.557 and 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(2)(ii), and potentially, the filing of a federal lawsuit to compel the production of the information.

This may subject your agency to contempt of court and a fine, including attorney fees and litigation expenses in compelling the production of this information pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(l) of the Privacy Act, and 38 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) of FOIA. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

BIG NAME LAW FIRM (OR YOU)

_______________________________________________

Second FOIA Example

 

Name
(Insert Address)
(Claim Number)

(Date)

(Counselor Name)
Department of Veterans Affairs
(Address of Vocational Rehabilitation Office)

Re: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request

Dear (Insert Counselor Name):

I am writing to request a copy of my Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment file through FOIA. Please furnish a copy of my file to the above mailing address.

My file can be found under: (Claim Number)

I further request a full waiver of fees associated with this request. The information I am requesting is material to my claim for benefits from the VA.

If you deny this request, please cite the reason you feel justified for the denial, and provide me with information I will need to make an appeal.

Please contact me with any questions about this appeal via phone or email at (insert phone number and email address).

Sincerely,

(Signature)
(Typed Name)

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John
John

Ben, I sent a FOIA Letter to the Voc/Rehab a month ago and haven’t heard anything. What should I do now?

JOHNNY JOHNSTON
JOHNNY JOHNSTON

To Ricky James
They damn sure did use A.O. in S. Korea starting Feb 68, right after I left Dec 13th 67. Their is a site regarding it’s use in S. Korea, just keep googling it Ok. I cannot remember where I found it as I thought they used it around Charlie Battery 6th MSN BN, 44th ADA Regiment 38th Brigade ADA. So, I looked and looked. The HAWK or NIKE Hercules site you were on might have been sprayed if that close to DMZ as it was used on DMZ. The places used are listed. The DMZ for sure. You were in what as is known as the 2nd Korean War, starting Nov 2- 66, ending Dec. 69 with 90 KIA &140 wounded. We 22J20’s (6) spent every other night a team of 3, alone while on guard duty in a big foxhole 20 ft from sites fence with only 4 clips, no grenades or bayonets and 1800 yds from Yellow Sea due Charlie Battery went to Defcon 2 Apr 67. Pure hell, 50 plus below zero, 2 on 4 off.
` Good Luck. Be glad you weren’t in the infamous C battery, the most isolated Hawk site in Korea. 6 hrs to camp Humprey’s or K-6, one way. Johnny Johnston

fastestinthewest
fastestinthewest

New regulations by VA, AO must be called chemical agent or something to that effect outside of Vietnam. Look it up. Claim will then go through.

Hugh Lytle
Hugh Lytle

I am like all the others that deal with the WACO, TX Regional Office and all their blah blah blah crap. Yes, I have all the reports where they have improved their C&P rating process to 120 days…LOL then ask me why mine is still there since January of 2011 for a re-evaluation.

then I was hospitalized in for 8 weeks in June to August and filed all my paperwork for it and hand delivered to them for the compensation of being hospitalized. Its October and its still in Development phase and get this one, they lump it into my January 2011 re-evaluation and telling me there isn’t anything they can do to fix. I have contacted my DAV and well other than an employee getting terminated I still have no progress, I have gone to the VET center and they have also looked into and no still progress and I have even spoken to a VSO and only told the VA takes their time doing things and I must wait. While I am waiting I have deplenished our savings, and now selling everything we own to be able to keep a roof over a head. We can’t get anyone from the homeless or prevention of homeless in the VA to call us back either.

That is Texas for you I agree with all the others here on this page. Regardless of what the reports say. We end up with our families at our side living on the streets for taking care of everyone freedoms that sit at those desks and probably didn’t even see a day of war in their lives and don’t care what happens to us or our families.

My spouse has applied for the Family caretaker program and was told over the phone that she was denied “because I don’t talk about what she does for me” that was done at the clinical stage. Although, she has gone to my appointments and my psych doctor and she keeps my journal and she does everything for me and our family. but, the psych doc denied her because I don’t talk about it”. She applied for an appeal since I was hospitlaized but still no word from them. Yes, this is the same place Waco, TX.

If I had the funds I would move to another state that may serve their veterans better. I was also denied SSI because I haven’t received my rating from the VA and they say since I worked before I can work now. That is what diminished my capacity in the first place. I am now in the process of filing the appeal for that.

I have been denied Voc Rehab because when I went I was told that I had a job, although it was part-time, and then a couple of days later I received a letter saying I didn’t show up for the appointment. My wife and I both were there, sat through the videos, spoke to a counselor and was denied even the reimbursement for mileage. Unless you go through transition with the military now when you are getting out, you are just a piece of paper of files on someone’s desk who doesn’t care that you too have children that need clothes, shoes, food, and shelter, and utilities to get by. But, to them, its a paycheck and they can chit chat and eat chips, drink sodas, and have fun at their desk talking on the phones.

While we wait in despair is totally wrong! Way to go Waco, TX

What does one do in these types of situations.

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

Took me six months to get my 30 percent in Fort Worth from Waco, Not bad at all, Now the fight begins though.

george o stadler
george o stadler

96% of veterans polled, do not believe the VA 4% are no brainers

I LOST MY MIRACLE PERSON GARY C DOUGLAS HAS VANISHED

NO HELP FOR ME ONCE AGAIN HIS “REPLACEMENT” IS BUSY KEEPING THE CHAIR WARM

MY FRIENDS THINK HE HAS BEEN SACRIFICED TO THE VA DENIAL GODS

John Chambers
John Chambers

Johnny, I was in S.Korea from June 66 to Oct. 67 and with the 38 Brigade I was at your C Battery over looking the Yellow Sea many times I worked on the generators for that site and your right it was a hell hole, and not much of a village outside the wire either. I remember A Bat. B Bat. C Bat. D Bat. and C may have been worst of them, I also remember over looking the Yellow Sea and seeing Red China on a clear day, I spent many a night and day at C Bat.
I did not know we where in the 2nd Korean War Johnny ( thank you for the infor. ) I know when I got to Korea I hit the the ground running, I knew we lost some people but not 90 KIA & 140 wounded I did not know that.
The fox holes and the winter and the rain in the summer and the friends I made on patrol and driving to the Battery’s I do remember.
Take care, Johnny
John

Lana
Lana

Go to Social Security and file for SSDI….bring in your entire medical to them. Go in person, ours went fast within 6 months we got it. Joint program according to their web site. You couldn’t have believed how shocked we were when we finally got something. Get into the D.A.V. immediately!!!!!!! I wish we could all buy back tax property and set up homes for ourselves for the last few years of our lives.

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

You were lucky, I was denied after six months, I have an attorney now. Don’t be afraid of attorneys on SSI they can only take 20 percent in texas plus Doctors. Now I still wait though and have almost been a year total.

Romeo Romo
Romeo Romo

What is D.A.V.

Lana
Lana

Go to your county Veterans commission, they supplement your income for at least 6 months, soldiers and sailors pension apply forthis too.

george o stadler
george o stadler

if i could find something good to say about the va it could be said in 2 words or less
56 years “no records” bah humbug

I now have some records was declared totally permanently disabled by 3 different military medical boards did no good all these long miserable years

Turns out they went “shopping” for medical boards could not kill my case that way so they hid the records all these years very sad

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

I can say this, the VA employees I deal with are really good for the most part, mental health doctors, my regular Doctor, some of the other employees seem to care less, but I think it is more administration that it is anything.

george o stadler
george o stadler

I have been 56 years getting jacked by VA/Army they “lost” all my recorfds while I was still hospitalized in 1956, filed claim after claim all these years no records got nothing I HAD BEEN DECLARED TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED AND UNFIT FOR MILITARY SERVICE 3 DIFFERENT TIMES BY 3 DIFFERENT MILITARY MEDICAL BOARDS

IN JANUARY 2008 I MET GARY C DOUGLAS OF AMVETS THIS GREAT
PERSON SAID “I WILL FIND THOSE RECORDS” IT TOOK HIM OVER 3 YEARS AND HE DID WE FILED YET ANOTHER CLAIM

THE GOVERNMENT HAD LIED THEY USUALLY DO

GARY FOUND OUT THEY OWE ME 55 PLUS YEARS OF BACK PAY

WILL THEY PAY / DO THE RIGHT THING ?? OF COURSE NOT THEY HAVE NOT YET WHY START NOW ???

10 MONTHS AGO GARY C DOUGLAS VANISHED ONCE AGAIN I DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION

AM 75 NOW VA SEZ IT MIGHT TAKE 10 MORE YEARS TO RESOLVE THIS CASE WOW

THIS GOVERNMENT CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHY NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BELIEVES THEM

george o stadler
george o stadler

HERE IS SOME HOPE FOR US PERHAPS

I JUST NOW CONTACTED BERGMANN & MOORE LAW FIRM 877 8382889

THEY SAID TO SEND A CERTIFIED LETTER TO THE VA SERVICE CENTER MANAGER AND REQUEST AJUDICATION OF MY CASE 56 YEARS IS A LONG TIME THEN IF UNSATISFIED CALL THEM

OUR CASES ARE NOT UNUSUAL AT ALL

george o stadler
george o stadler

I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU

GO TO VETS FOR JUSTICE ALSO TO HADIT

MUCH TO BE LEARNED THERE

george o stadler
george o stadler

WOW 56 YEARS OF BAMBOOZLE
AT AGE 19 I GOT DISABLED IN ARMY THEY DECIDED NOT TO PAY
FIRST MEDICAL BOARD FOUND ME DISABLED NOT FIT FOR MILITARY
SERVICE
ARMY HID THAT
GOT ANOTHER MEDICAL BOARD LOST THAT CASE HID THAT ALSO
SENT ME HERE FROM GERMANY NO RECORDS AT ALL
THEY THEN GOT THE NAVY TO DO A MEDICAL BOARD NAVY SAID NOT FIT FOR FURTHER MILITARY SERVICE THEY HID THAT ALSO
FOR 56 YEARS THE BIG BAMBOOZLE IS ON ME

richard connor
richard connor

I started my claim about about two years ago. I did the paper work myself ,after seven months of waiting I was giving 10% for tinnitus and 30% for ptsd. after four months i went back to the va for a increase . I went in for my hearing and without any problems, I was giving 20% more for my ptsd. Then about five months later I went to a six week stay at a ptsd clinic in leeds ma. after my stay there I went back to the va again. after six months I was giving a ptsd rating of 70% and 30% for unemployability a total of 100%. so what I;m saying stay on top of them and don”t give

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

That is how you do it, you go go go and just keep going.

Tony
Tony

I am a retired after 2o year with bad knees. I have had three surgeries in 4 years. I have been told that both need to be replaced. Keep fighting for what you earned! I have had nothing but problems with the VA. Thank all of you for your service.

Joseph
Joseph

VA Forms for request of information for medical

Individuals’ Request for a Copy of Their Own Health Information (VA 10-4345a)
http://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/vha-10-5345a-fill.pdf

Request for and Authorization to Release Medical Records or Health Information (VA-10-5345)
http://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/vha-10-5345-fill.pdf

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

Yes but without the letter he has as an example you may not get everything, the VA gets sloppy and just runs it through the copier, he put in, everything in the left flap, fight flap and middle, plus both sides. I have requested my records numerous times and each time it’s different, so I use a template of disabledveterans.org letter.

Joseph
Joseph

Greetings all! My name is Joseph, and I just retired from the Air Force in Feb 2012. I had hoped that the VA would not treat me as poorly as they have these past few months, but I get the sense that I’ve been kicked to the curb. I’ve completed all of my medical appointments, and I’ve provided all requested documents. To-date, I have not received my VA medical ID card, nor have I received a copy of my claim-form; the request submitted in writing was delivered more than four weeks ago; thus far, nothing. I’m attending school under the Post-911 GI bill, and thus far, I’ve achieved a 4.0 GPA in Information Technology of Applied Science. My injuries are serious, and yet the VA offers me no help or assistance in cost-care. Due to over-population of my local base, I am no longer permitted to use the base medical facilities, and have thus be forced into selecting a civilian Primary Care Manager; this gets expensive I might add. I suffered from colon cancer back in 2003, and ended up having a permanent colostomy installed; they removed my entire rectum and surrounding tissue. According to the VA disability ratings chart, I’m to be awarded 100% percent disability for this injury alone. The injury was identified while deployed to Turkey in support of the initial stages of the war in Iraq, and thus is deemed a service connected injury. I have other injuries, such as a complete ankle fusion of the lower right extremity. The other injuries I’ve yet to claim as I did not want to bog-down the VA claims process with too many injuries; I now realize this mistake.

As stated, I’m attending school using the Post 911 GI bill, and while they’ve paid for my schooling, I’ve yet to receive a housing allowance. My classes are on-line, and according to the latest regulations governing on-line classes, members attending on-line classes are to receive at least 50% percent of E-5 housing pay; thus far, nothing. I’ve contacted the ever-difficult eBenefits hotline, and was told to fax my DDForm 214; this was done, and to day (almost two months), no payments have been received.

The VA has me running in circles! I’ve yet to have my “Prime” eBenefits account established. I’ve requested the DS Login information but after three months of waiting, still nothing. I went to the local VA DAV office, and had my Basic account upgraded to Prime. But when I got home, my password failed. I called their tech support, and the guy deleted my account and told me to start over. I’ve done that, and now I’m unable to obtain a “Prime” account because they claim that my identity could not be verified, EVEN when logging in with my DFAS user-id and password.

Colostomy equipment is expensive, and I cannot afford the c0-payments every time I visit my civilian PCM. The co-payment for each appointment ranges from $32 – $60 dollars, and this does not include the co-payment for the colostomy equipment at about $32 dollars. Thus, as you can see, it’s getting quite expensive for me to buy colostomy care equipment. I could get this from the VA Hospital, but they have failed to send me my VA ID card, and thus I cannot use the service.

I’m almost out of money, and I’m stuck! I do have a job, but it’s a “TEMP” job, with the hopes of being hired; thus far, no luck. Having been forced to retire from the Air Force, as a TSgt, my retirement pay covers my mortgage and utility; all other expenses are paid with my TEMP pay-check, which only equates to about $1,700 monthly. As you can see, I have enough to survive, but life is getting much tougher.

Any help would greatly be appreciated. I’ve tried calling the VA but I keep getting their “high-volume” message, and when I schedule a call-back, it’s always weeks out.

Please help if anyone has information.

Joseph

vgakgnsd
vgakgnsd

Seems like your not trying hard enough. Airforce is supposed to be smart, Im a Grunt Marine and get my full benefits from Disability, school, you just gotta stay on it, do the right research and hopefully talk to the right person who can help you. The BAH is probably something you are doing wrong and need to figure out. Go to a VA and go to the emergency room until they give you an appointment with a main physician. you are a freakin retired vet who had CANCER??? get on it man you seem smart just go to the VA, but maybe you are in a shity area im in SD area, they know what the fuck they are doing down here i guesse. looks like ill be screwed when i go to GA

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

disabledveterans.org preaches to use the power of the pen and the certified letter, it works. Every time I have a legitimate complaint about the V.A. I send a regular letter to the Advocate, Doctor and Admin. I send a certified letter to OIG and Jacho, Jacho because they control most of if not all hospitals on surveys.

I’m a nurse and it’s like this, when people ask me what is a good nursing home, rehab, ltac hospital, I tell them any as long as they are there and they watch and every time they have a problem either visit the Director of Nursing or Administrator or both but not one and then the other every other time. Why? because they don’t want you in there office, they don’t want to here you wine, they will make sure the care givers take care of your loved one.

Same with V.A., they don’t want the hassle of investigations all the time and every time you complain to the oig and jacho there has to be one and they have to get out there pens, be on the phone and have meetings, There going to get fed up with after a while and make sure they take care of you.

Lee
Lee

Joseph,
I hope you have received some assistance since vgakgnsd replied to you. As you the VA’s system is very slow, especially since we pulled out of Iraq with the deserving vets filing their claims. It appears that the educational part of VA is also clogged.

I suggest finding a recommended Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to assist you with your VA’s issues. Remember there are some good VA’s medical personnel and private medical personnel and there are some ones that are not as good. I try to select the best of each.

God Bless You!

Mike Leach
Mike Leach

The Veteran ID card can be issued at any VA hospital. Go to one and have them direct you to the specific office at the hospital and they will issue you the card. Usually, it is the eligibility office. They can acccess your files via computer but you might want to take your discharge documents with you and any correspondence you have received up to that date from VA.

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

It can be issued at alot of clinics now too. When I first started going to VA I had to go to Dallas, Now I can go to Fort Worth, they bought camera’s, how sweet lol.

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kel
kel

what if you are rate at 50% and you receive an additional 50% according to what you are stating it does not = 100%. What would your new rating be

Sonny
Sonny

I think you new rating is going to be 75% rounded up to 80%?? The VA has a chart/scale they use for this. Many of the people who work at VA don’t even know anything about this chart/scale. You can try and request it from your VA regional office and don’t take “I don’t know about this paper” for an answer from the VA. Good luck!

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

Completely up to regs, VA uses a math I have never been able to figure out. You have to find a va rep or go through the regs to be sure.

sarah parsons
sarah parsons

Dear Joseph: I’m sorry to hear of your situation. I am a V.N. vet. I am now 69 year old and am so happy to have my medicare and a supplement. I find that it is so worth getting these two things in place asap as well as a plan D program. You will spend so much less and things happen so much faster. I can’t afford Vet. meds. with my Plan D I pay $18.00 a month for the plan and $1.25/rx. I also have my own private doctor. I wish you the best and thanks for giving so much for us. A fellow Vet, Sarah

Clarence Yates
Clarence Yates

Dear Sarah ,
I wrote you a letter but lost it concerning the insurance you have 18.00 & 1.25 with own physician, wondered if you could give me their name if in Michigan?
I ‘m trying to survive on 994.00 a month after losing my dissability child support family benefit soc sec took it upon themselves to change it to me paying the support and not the family benefit.
I have been unable to fight back for military benefits, since coming down with what’s now known as PTSD I guess , along with constant panic, Severe depression, GAd and now lethargy since 19 years old ,half way thru my term of duty. I get severe lethargy and fear and can’t stop stress causing it. My divorce attorney even took advantage ….. if you know some attorney that will really help me , please help me Sarah , my life was ruined and now I’m struggling to survive. Thank you for your service to our Country and for reading this.
Clarence Yates
16320 s. 31street
Vicksburg, Michigan 49097
Cell phone is all I have
1-269-364-8956

Lee Vining
Lee Vining

Yes would be rounded up to 80…most likely. One handy tool I found was google “va disabilty calculator”. There are two of them out there.

Genius H. Kennard
Genius H. Kennard

Where do I find a VA disability calculator, Google? And does anyone know what I need to do to speed up my disability appeals process on the judges desk right now in Washington, DC.?

richard
richard

i have been told that i have been given the most i can get out of my injuries that i am aloud i am 40% service connected for a loss of a rib a broken collarbone and they have a claim for hearing loss

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

Has this caused any other conditions, Vets seem to forget secondary diagnosis.
Very critical for most claims. A ptsd can cause ulcers, stomach problems, pes planus can cause ankle, leg, knee, hip, back and neck problems. You get the meaning of what I am trying to say, if something happened to you in the service and you can find correlation to it causing other problems and a nexus you can usually claim disability on that.

James Edward Vernon jr.
James Edward Vernon jr.

i have been using rep4vets as my agent to represent me in my claims. so far, 1 denial working on appeal for “upgrade to 100%”. can they be listed as a LAW FIRM ? or should I send the letter signed by me ?

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

There not a law firm, so I would say no. If you want to get prepaid legal then that would work.

Suzy CrazyWalker
Suzy CrazyWalker

OK, my disability claim with SS is not service related, but I have issues with them about injections during that time, mkultra etc. Have a daughter conceived during my service with what seems birth defects but not debilitating. Cant find anywhere to go to research the questions I have, talk talk about these issues, some acknowledgement basically by the CIA, but no answers. My VA health benefits since 2002 involves an extreme amount of strong pharms and constant monitoring…..weaned off in 2011, struggle with the lasting side effects from the crap……Lab Rat? You have any ideas of how I can reap benefits from this? Also interested in a lawyer to discuss malpractice, pain and suffering etc…….Thanks for being here for us, truly thank you.

ARNOLD CABRAL
ARNOLD CABRAL

All VETERANS EMAIL cv4a.org to see if they like what they represent

sdorttuiiplmnr
sdorttuiiplmnr

This blog is definitely rather handy since I’m at the moment creating an internet floral website – although I am only starting out therefore it’s really fairly small, nothing like this site. Can link to a few of the posts here as they are quite. Thanks much. Zoey Olsen

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