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     A Guide to Research Resources

VA Pension Letter

All pension files are not in the custody of the National Archives.  Some pension files are still in the custody of the Veterans.  This is often true of files that were still active after 1929.  The following information was provided by the National Archives to assist researchers in ordering pension files from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

You need to write a letter to the VA Freedom of Information Officer.  State that you are requesting access to the pension file under the Freedom of Information Act.  Give them the “C” or “XC” pension number along with the name and regiment of the soldier.  Then write;  “I am requesting that you conduct a BIRLS (Beneficiary Information and Records Locator System) search for the file and retrieve it for my use from the Federal Records Center where it is currently housed.”  Go to their web site for additional instructions and addresses. The VA requires that a FOIA request be in writing and signed by the requestor.  The request must reasonably describe the records so that the file may be located with a reasonable amount of effort.  State your willingness to pay applicable fees or provide a justification to support a fee waiver.  Please include a daytime telephone number in case they need to contact you.  Write Freedom of Information Act Request on the envelope.  Mail your request to VA FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, VA Central Office.  The address for the VA VOIA/Privacy Officer is:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Director, Records Management Service (005E3)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 02420


Please note.  The VA does not normally charge a fee for coping or mailing copies of the pension file, but this is always subject to change.

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