Hands going through a file drawer


FOIL / FOIA and Record Retention Policy

Filing a FOIL Request for Records Pertaining to the NYS Department of Veterans’ Services

The Freedom of Information Law or FOIL, effective January 1, 1978, reaffirms the right of the people to know how government operates. It provides rights of access to records reflective of governmental decisions and policies that affect the lives of every New Yorker.

The law defines "agency" to include all units of state and local government in New York State, including state agencies, public corporations and authorities, as well as any other governmental entities performing a governmental function for the state or for one or more units of local government in the state.

The law defines "record" as "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the State Legislature, in any physical form whatsoever." It is clear that items such as tape recordings, microfilm and computer discs fall within the definition of "record." An agency is not required to create a new record or provide information in response to questions to comply with the law. However, the courts have held that an agency must provide records in the form requested if it has the ability to do so. For instance, if records are accessible on paper or on a computer tape or disk, the public may choose to obtain them either way.  For more information about FOIL and the Personal Privacy Protection Law (Public Officers Law, Article 6-A), please visit the New York State Committee on Open Government’s website.


Make a FOIL Request

Please be as specific as possible when requesting records, so that we may easily identify which records maintained by the Authority are responsive to your request. Complete the Open FOIL NY request form online:

Submit a FOIL Request Online


You can also download and fill out the DVS FOIL request form and mail or email to:


Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Veterans' Services
2 Empire State Plaza, 17th Floor
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223
[email protected]

Availability of Records

Upon appointment, public records maintained by the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services are available for inspection or copying on weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at:

2 Empire State Plaza, 17th Floor, Albany, NY 12223.

NYS DVS Subject Matter List of Agency Records:

In accordance with Section 87(3)(c) of the Public Officers Law, below is a list of records maintained by the Department of Veterans’ Services (updated November 2020):

1) Agency reports, publications, research briefs, and brochures

2) Contracts, Memoranda of Understanding (including, but not limited to, lease agreements for Division field offices), and related correspondence

3) Agency training materials and records

4) Agency policy memoranda

5) Freedom of Information Law records requests

6) Confidential case records for Veterans, Servicemembers, and their Family Members receiving assistance from Department of Veterans’ Services employees

7) After-Action Reviews for Department of Veterans’ Services outreach initiatives

8) Informational materials about current Federal and State laws, regulations, and policies directly affecting Veterans and their family members

9) Confidential application packages submitted by Veterans seeking restoration of State benefits under the Restoration of Honor Act

Human resources and financial records are maintained by the Office of General Services, which serves as the Department's host agency.

New York State Department of Veterans' Services FOIL and Record Retention Policies

NYS DVS Policy Memo on FOIL Requests

NYS DVS Policy Memo on Retention and Destruction of Documents

If you are a New York State Veteran seeking information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Services (VA), the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services (NYS DVS) can assist you with your request.

Right to Appeal

To the extent you believe you have been denied access to a record by the Department FOIL Officer, you have thirty (30) days from the date of the determination to take a written appeal.  You may appeal by writing:

Contact Information:

FOIL Appeals Officer
NYS Department of Veterans’ Services
2 Empire State Plaza, 17th Floor
Albany, New York 12223

Email: [email protected]

U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right of access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records are protected from release by FOIA exemption or a special law enforcement record exclusion. It is the VA’s policy to release information to the fullest extent under the law.

For additional information on VA FOIA requests, visit the VA website at: https://www.va.gov/oal/business/pps/foia.asp