38 CFR § 1.550 - Purpose.
(a)Sections 1.550 through 1.562 contain the rules followed by VA in processing requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended. These regulations should be read together with the FOIA, which provides the underlying legal basis for the regulations and other information regarding requests for records in the custody of a Federal agency. The regulations also should be read together with VA's FOIA Reference Guide, available on VA's FOIA home page (see § 1.552(a) for the pertinent Internet address) and FOIA fee guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/inforeg/foia_fee_schedule_1987.pdf.
(b)Requests for records about an individual, protected under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, including one's own records and records that pertain to an individual and that may be sensitive, will be processed under the FOIA and the Privacy Act. The FOIA applies to third-party requests for documents concerning the general activities of the Government and of VA in particular. When a U.S. citizen or an individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence requests access to his or her own records, it is considered a Privacy Act request. Such records are maintained by VA under the individual's name or personal identifier. Although requests are considered either FOIA requests or Privacy Act requests, agencies process requests in accordance with both laws, which provides the greatest degree of lawful access while safeguarding an individual's personal privacy. In addition to the following FOIA regulations, see 1.575 through 1.584 for regulations applicable of Privacy Act records.
(c)Requests for records relating to a claim administered by VA pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5701 will be processed under the FOIA and 38 U.S.C. 5701. In addition to the following FOIA regulations, see §§ 1.500 through 1.527 for regulations implementing 38 U.S.C. 5701.
(d)Requests for records relating to healthcare quality assurance reviews pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5705 will be processed under the FOIA and 38 U.S.C. 5705. In addition to the following FOIA regulations, see38 CFR 17.500 through 17.511 for regulations implementing 38 U.S.C. 5705.
(e)Requests for records relating to treatment for the conditions specified in 38 U.S.C. 7332, such as drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), or sickle cell anemia, will be processed under the FOIA and 38 U.S.C. 7332. In addition to the following FOIA regulations, see §§ 1.460 through 1.499 of this part for regulations implementing 38 U.S.C. 7332.