Title 5

SECTION 294.108

294.108 Procedures for obtaining records.

§ 294.108 Procedures for obtaining records.

(a) Mailing or delivering a request. Any person may ask for records under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, by directing a letter to one of the organizations listed in § 294.107, or by delivering a request in person at the addresses listed in that section during business hours on a regular business day.

(b) Proper marking. Each request for records should have a clear and prominent notation on the first page, such as “Freedom of Information Act Request.” In addition, if sent by mail or otherwise submitted in an envelope or other cover, mark the outside clearly and prominently with “FOIA Request” or “Freedom of Information Act Request.”

(c) Contents of request letter. A request must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable OPM personnel to locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort.

(1) OPM will regard a request for a specific category of records as fulfilling the requirements of this paragraph, if it enables responsive records to be identified by a technique or process that is not unreasonably burdensome or disruptive to OPM operations.

(2) Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, number, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record.

(3) If an OPM organization determines that a request does not reasonably describe the records sought, it will either provide notice of any additional information needed or otherwise state why the request is insufficient. OPM will also offer the record seeker an opportunity to confer, with the objective of reformulating the request so that it meets the requirements of this section.

(d) Medical records. OPM or another Government agency may disclose the medical records of an applicant, employee, or annuitant to the subject of the record, or to a representative designated in writing. However, medical records may contain information about an individual's mental or physical condition that a prudent physician would hesitate to give to the individual. Under such circumstances, OPM may disclose the records, including the exact nature and probable outcome of the condition, only to a licensed physician designated in writing for that purpose by the individual or his or her designated representative.

(e) Publications. If the subject matter of a request includes material published and offered for sale (e.g., by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office), OPM will explain where a person may review and/or purchase the publications.

(f) Responses within 10 working days. Except in unusual circumstances (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)), OPM will determine whether to disclose or deny records within 10 working days after receipt of the request (excluding weekends and holidays) and will provide notice immediately of its determination and the reasons therefor, and of the right to appeal any adverse determination.

[54 FR 25094, June 13, 1989, as amended at 58 FR 32044, June 8, 1993]