[USC02] 38 USC PART IV, CHAPTER 57, SUBCHAPTER I: RECORDS
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38 USC PART IV, CHAPTER 57, SUBCHAPTER I: RECORDS
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART IV—GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONSCHAPTER 57—RECORDS AND INVESTIGATIONS

SUBCHAPTER I—RECORDS

§5701. Confidential nature of claims

(a) All files, records, reports, and other papers and documents pertaining to any claim under any of the laws administered by the Secretary and the names and addresses of present or former members of the Armed Forces, and their dependents, in the possession of the Department shall be confidential and privileged, and no disclosure thereof shall be made except as provided in this section.

(b) The Secretary shall make disclosure of such files, records, reports, and other papers and documents as are described in subsection (a) of this section as follows:

(1) To a claimant or duly authorized agent or representative of a claimant as to matters concerning the claimant alone when, in the judgment of the Secretary, such disclosure would not be injurious to the physical or mental health of the claimant and to an independent medical expert or experts for an advisory opinion pursuant to section 5109 of this title.

(2) When required by process of a United States court to be produced in any suit or proceeding therein pending.

(3) When required by any department or other agency of the United States Government.

(4) In all proceedings in the nature of an inquest into the mental competency of a claimant.

(5) In any suit or other judicial proceeding when in the judgment of the Secretary such disclosure is deemed necessary and proper.

(6) In connection with any proceeding for the collection of an amount owed to the United States by virtue of a person's participation in any benefit program administered by the Secretary when in the judgment of the Secretary such disclosure is deemed necessary and proper.


(c)(1) The amount of any payment made by the Secretary to any person receiving benefits under a program administered by the Secretary shall be made known to any person who applies for such information.

(2) Any appraisal report or certificate of reasonable value submitted to or prepared by the Secretary in connection with any loan guaranteed, insured, or made under chapter 37 of this title shall be made available to any person who applies for such report or certificate.

(3) Subject to the approval of the President, the Secretary may publish at any time and in any manner any or all information of record pertaining to any claim filed with the Secretary if the Secretary determines that the public interest warrants or requires such publication.

(d) The Secretary as a matter of discretion may authorize an inspection of Department records by duly authorized representatives of recognized organizations.

(e) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this section with respect to certain information, the Secretary may release information, statistics, or reports to individuals or organizations when in the Secretary's judgment such release would serve a useful purpose.

(f) The Secretary may, pursuant to regulations the Secretary shall prescribe, release the name or address, or both, of any present or former member of the Armed Forces, or a dependent of a present or former member of the Armed Forces, (1) to any nonprofit organization if the release is directly connected with the conduct of programs and the utilization of benefits under this title, or (2) to any criminal or civil law enforcement governmental agency or instrumentality charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health or safety if a qualified representative of such agency or instrumentality has made a written request that such name or address be provided for a purpose authorized by law. Any organization or member thereof or other person who, knowing that the use of any name or address released by the Secretary pursuant to the preceding sentence is limited to the purpose specified in such sentence, willfully uses such name or address for a purpose other than those so specified, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined not more than $5,000 in the case of a first offense and not more than $20,000 in the case of any subsequent offense.

(g)(1) Subject to the provisions of this subsection, and under regulations which the Secretary shall prescribe, the Secretary may release the name or address, or both, of any person who is a present or former member of the Armed Forces, or who is a dependent of a present or former member of the Armed Forces, to a consumer reporting agency if the release of such information is necessary for a purpose described in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) A release of information under paragraph (1) of this subsection concerning a person described in such paragraph may be made for the purpose of—

(A) locating such a person—

(i) who has been administratively determined to be indebted to the United States by virtue of the person's participation in a benefits program administered by the Secretary; or

(ii) if the Secretary has determined under such regulations that (I) it is necessary to locate such person in order to conduct a study pursuant to section 527 of this title or a study required by any other provision of law, and (II) all reasonable steps have been taken to assure that the release of such information to such reporting agency will not have an adverse effect on such person; or


(B) obtaining a consumer report in order to assess the ability of a person described in subparagraph (A)(i) of this paragraph to repay the indebtedness of such person to the United States, but the Secretary may release the name or address of such person for the purpose stated in this clause only if the Secretary determines under such regulations that such person has failed to respond appropriately to administrative efforts to collect such indebtedness.


(3) The Secretary may also release to a consumer reporting agency, for the purposes specified in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2) of this subsection, such other information as the Secretary determines under such regulations is reasonably necessary to identify a person described in such paragraph, except that the Secretary may not release to a consumer reporting agency any information which indicates any indebtedness on the part of such person to the United States or any information which reflects adversely on such person. Before releasing any information under this paragraph, the Secretary shall, under such regulations, take reasonable steps to provide for the protection of the personal privacy of persons about whom information is proposed to be released under this paragraph.

(4)(A) If the Secretary determines, under regulations which the Secretary shall prescribe, that a person described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has failed to respond appropriately to reasonable administrative efforts to collect an indebtedness of such person described in paragraph (2)(A)(i) of this subsection, the Secretary may release information concerning the indebtedness, including the name and address of such person, to a consumer reporting agency for the purpose of making such information available for inclusion in consumer reports regarding such person and, if necessary, for the purpose of locating such person, if—

(i) the Secretary has (I) made reasonable efforts to notify such person of such person's right to dispute through prescribed administrative processes the existence or amount of such indebtedness and of such person's right to request a waiver of such indebtedness under section 5302 of this title, (II) afforded such person a reasonable opportunity to exercise such rights, and (III) made a determination with respect to any such dispute or request; and

(ii) thirty calendar days have elapsed after the day on which the Secretary has made a determination that reasonable efforts have been made to notify such person (I) that the Secretary intends to release such information for such purpose or purposes, and (II) that, upon the request of such person, the Secretary shall inform such person of whether such information has been so released and of the name and address of each consumer reporting agency to which such information was released by the Secretary and of the specific information so released.


(B) After release of any information under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph concerning the indebtedness of any person, the Secretary shall promptly notify—

(i) each consumer reporting agency to which such information has been released by the Secretary; and

(ii) each consumer reporting agency described in subsection (i)(3)(B)(i) of this section to which such information has been transmitted by the Secretary through a consumer reporting agency described in subsection (i)(3)(B)(ii)(I) of this section,


of any substantial change in the status or amount of such indebtedness and, upon the request of any such consumer reporting agency for verification of any or all information so released, promptly verify or correct, as appropriate, such information. The Secretary shall also, after the release of such information, inform such person, upon the request of such person, of the name and address of each consumer reporting agency described in clause (i) or (ii) of this subparagraph to which such information was released or transmitted by the Secretary and of the specific information so released or transmitted.

(h)(1) Under regulations which the Secretary shall prescribe, the Secretary may release the name or address, or both, of any person who is a present or former member of the Armed Forces, or who is a dependent of a present or former member of the Armed Forces (and other information relating to the identity of such person), to any person in a category of persons described in such regulations and specified in such regulations as a category of persons to whom such information may be released, if the release of such information is necessary for a purpose described in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) A release of information under paragraph (1) of this subsection may be made for the purpose of—

(A) determining the creditworthiness, credit capacity, income, or financial resources of a person who has (i) applied for any benefit under chapter 37 of this title, or (ii) submitted an offer to the Secretary for the purchase of property acquired by the Secretary under section 3720(a)(5) of this title;

(B) verifying, either before or after the Secretary has approved a person's application for assistance in the form of a loan guaranty or loan insurance under chapter 37 of this title, information submitted by a lender to the Secretary regarding the creditworthiness, credit capacity, income, or financial resources of such person;

(C) offering for sale or other disposition by the Secretary, pursuant to section 3720 of this title, any loan or installment sale contract owned or held by the Secretary; or

(D) providing assistance to any applicant for benefits under chapter 37 of this title or administering such benefits if the Secretary promptly records the fact of such release in appropriate records pertaining to the person concerning whom such release was made.


(i)(1) No contract entered into for any of the purposes of subsection (g) or (h) of this section, and no action taken pursuant to any such contract or either such subsection, shall result in the application of section 552a of title 5 to any consumer reporting agency or any employee of a consumer reporting agency.

(2) The Secretary shall take reasonable steps to provide for the protection of the personal privacy of persons about whom information is disclosed under subsection (g) or (h) of this section.

(3) For the purposes of this subsection and of subsection (g) of this section—

(A) The term "consumer report" has the meaning provided such term in subsection (d) of section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(d)).

(B) The term "consumer reporting agency" means—

(i) a consumer reporting agency as such term is defined in subsection (f) of section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)), or

(ii) any person who, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of (I) obtaining credit or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing such information to consumer reporting agencies (as defined in clause (i) of this paragraph), or (II) serving as a marketing agent under arrangements enabling third parties to obtain such information from such reporting agencies.


(j) Except as provided in subsection (i)(1) of this section, any disclosure made pursuant to this section shall be made in accordance with the provisions of section 552a of title 5.

(k)(1)(A) Under regulations that the Secretary shall prescribe, the Secretary may disclose the name and address of any individual described in subparagraph (C) to an entity described in subparagraph (B) in order to facilitate the determination by such entity whether the individual is, or after death will be, a suitable organ, tissue, or eye donor if—

(i) the individual is near death (as determined by the Secretary) or is deceased; and

(ii) the disclosure is permitted under regulations promulgated pursuant to section 264 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2 note).


(B) An entity described in this subparagraph is—

(i) an organ procurement organization, including eye and tissue banks; or

(ii) an entity that the Secretary has determined—

(I) is substantially similar in function, professionalism, and reliability to an organ procurement organization; and

(II) should be treated for purposes of this subsection in the same manner as an organ procurement organization.


(C) An individual described in this subparagraph is—

(i) a veteran; or

(ii) a dependent of veteran.


(2) In this subsection, the term "organ procurement organization" has the meaning given the term "qualified organ procurement organization" in section 371(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 273(b)).

(l)(1) Under regulations the Secretary shall prescribe, the Secretary shall disclose information about a covered individual to a State controlled substance monitoring program, including a program approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 399O of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 280g–3), to the extent necessary to prevent misuse and diversion of prescription medicines.

(2) In this subsection, a "covered individual" is an individual who is dispensed medication prescribed by an employee of the Department or by a non-Department provider authorized to prescribe such medication by the Department.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1236, §3301; Pub. L. 87–671, §2, Sept. 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 557; Pub. L. 91–24, §11, June 11, 1969, 83 Stat. 34; Pub. L. 92–540, title IV, §412, Oct. 24, 1972, 86 Stat. 1093; Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a), June 29, 1976, 90 Stat. 713; Pub. L. 94–581, title II, §210(b), Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2863; Pub. L. 96–466, title VI, §606, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2212; Pub. L. 101–94, title III, §302(a), Aug. 16, 1989, 103 Stat. 628; renumbered §5701 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), (d)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 102–83, §§2(c)(6), 4(a)(1), (2)(A)(xi), (3), (4), (b)(1), (2)(E), 5(c)(1), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 402–406; Pub. L. 107–14, §8(a)(13), June 5, 2001, 115 Stat. 35; Pub. L. 109–461, title II, §204(a), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3411; Pub. L. 112–74, div. H, title II, §230(a), Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1159; Pub. L. 114–198, title IX, §914, July 22, 2016, 130 Stat. 765; Pub. L. 114–223, div. A, title II, §246, Sept. 29, 2016, 130 Stat. 884; Pub. L. 115–55, §2(u)(2), Aug. 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 1113; Pub. L. 115–86, §2, Nov. 21, 2017, 131 Stat. 1276.)

Applicability of Amendment

Amendment of section by section 2(u)(2) of Pub. L. 115–55 applicable to all claims for which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides notice of a decision under section 5104 of this title on or after the later of 540 days after Aug. 23, 2017, or 30 days after the date on which the Secretary submits to Congress a certification of certain capabilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out the new appeals system established by Pub. L. 115–55 and to address appeals of decisions on legacy claims, with provision for early applicability of the new appeals system to certain claims. See 2017 Amendment note below.

References in Text

Section 264 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, referred to in subsec. (k)(1)(A)(ii), is section 264 of title II of Pub. L. 104–191, Aug. 21, 1996, 110 Stat. 2033, which is set out as a note under section 1320d–2 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.

Amendments

2017—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 115–55 struck out "or 7109" after "section 5109".

Subsec. (l). Pub. L. 115–86 designated existing provisions as par. (1), substituted "about a covered individual" for "about a veteran or the dependent of a veteran", and added par. (2).

2016—Subsec. (l). Pub. L. 114–198 and Pub. L. 114–223 amended subsec. (l) identically, substituting "shall disclose" for "may disclose".

2011—Subsec. (l). Pub. L. 112–74 added subsec. (l).

2006—Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 109–461 added subsec. (k).

2001—Subsec. (g)(2)(B). Pub. L. 107–14 substituted "subparagraph (A)(i)" for "clause (A)(i)".

Subsec. (g)(3). Pub. L. 107–14 substituted "subparagraph (A) or (B)" for "clause (A) or (B)".

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 3301 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(1), substituted "administered by the Secretary" for "administered by the Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in introductory provisions and in pars. (1), (5), and (6).

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(1), substituted "administered by the Secretary" for "administered by the Veterans' Administration" in par. (6).

Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "5109" and "7109" for "3009" and "4009", respectively, in par. (1).

Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(xi), substituted "Secretary" for first reference to "Veterans' Administration".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(1), substituted "administered by the Secretary" for "administered by the Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(xi), substituted "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in two places.

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(xi), substituted "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration" after "with the".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" and "Secretary's" for "Administrator's".

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (g)(1). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in two places.

Subsec. (g)(2)(A)(i). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(1), substituted "administered by the Secretary" for "administered by the Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (g)(2)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

Pub. L. 102–83, §2(c)(6), substituted "section 527" for "section 219".

Subsec. (g)(2)(B), (3), (4). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (g)(4)(A)(i). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "5302" for "3102".

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 102–83, §5(c)(1), substituted "3720(a)(5)" for "1820(a)(5)" in par. (2)(A) and "3720" for "1820" in par. (2)(C).

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (i)(2). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

1989—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 101–94 substituted "section 3009 or 4009" for "section 4009".

1980—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(a), substituted "members of the Armed Forces" for "personnel of the armed services".

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(b), added par. (6).

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(c), designated existing provisions as pars. (1) and (3) with minor changes in language, and in par. (1) as so designated, substituted reference to the amount of any payment made by the Veterans' Administration to any person receiving benefits under a program administered by the Veterans' Administration for reference to the amount of pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation of any beneficiary, and added par. (2).

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(d), substituted "name or address, or both, of any present or former member of the Armed Forces, or a dependent of a present or former member of the Armed Forces" for "names or addresses, or both, of any present or former members of the Armed Forces, and/or their dependents" and "written request that such name or address" for "written request that such names or addresses".

Subsecs. (g) to (i). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(e), added subsecs. (g) to (i). Former subsec. (g) redesignated (j).

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 96–466, §606(e), (f), redesignated former subsec. (g) as (j) and substituted "Except as provided in subsection (i)(1) of this section, any" for "Any".

1976—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(1), (2), designated introductory par. as subsec. (a) and as so designated, substituted "provided in this section." for "follows:".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(2), added subsec. (b). Pars. (1) to (5), formerly set out following introductory par., became part of such subsec. (b).

Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 94–581, §210(b)(1), substituted "claimant or duly authorized agent or representative of a claimant as to matters concerning the claimant alone" for "claimant or his duly authorized agent or representative as to matters concerning himself alone".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(3), redesignated par. (6) as subsec. (c).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 94–581, §210(b)(2), substituted "as a matter of discretion" for "in his discretion".

Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(3), redesignated par. (7) as subsec. (d).

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 94–581, §210(b)(3), substituted "in the Administrator's judgment" for "in his judgment".

Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(3), (4), redesignated par. (8) as subsec. (e) and substituted "Except as otherwise specifically provided in this section with respect to certain information, the" for "The".

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(3), (5), redesignated par. (9) as subsec. (f) and inserted provision relating to the release of information pursuant to this subsection to criminal or civil law enforcement governmental agencies and increased the penalty for misuse of such information to the status of a misdemeanor, with a fine of not more than $5,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 94–321, §1(a)(5), added subsec. (g).

1972Pub. L. 92–540 in introductory provision inserted reference to the names and addresses of present or former personnel of the armed forces, and their dependents, in the possession of the Veterans' Administration, and added par. (9).

1969—Par. (1). Pub. L. 91–24 substituted "the claimant and to an independent" for "the claimant. And to an independent".

1962—Par. (1). Pub. L. 87–671 inserted provisions authorizing disclosure to an independent medical expert or experts for an advisory opinion pursuant to section 4009 of this title.

Effective Date of 2017 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–55 applicable to all claims for which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides notice of a decision under section 5104 of this title on or after the later of 540 days after Aug. 23, 2017, or 30 days after the date on which the Secretary submits to Congress a certification of certain capabilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out the new appeals system established by Pub. L. 115–55 and to address appeals of decisions on legacy claims, with provision for early applicability of the new appeals system to certain claims, see section 2(x) of Pub. L. 115–55, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date of 1989 Amendment

Pub. L. 101–94, title III, §302(c), Aug. 16, 1989, 103 Stat. 628, provided that: "The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) [amending this section and section 4092 [now 7292] of this title] shall take effect as if included in the Veterans' Judicial Review Act [div. A of Pub. L. 100–687]."

Effective Date of 1980 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–466 effective Oct. 1, 1980, except as otherwise specifically provided, see section 802(f) of Pub. L. 96–466, set out as an Effective Date note under section 5314 of this title.

Effective Date of 1976 Amendments

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–581 effective Oct. 21, 1976, see section 211 of Pub. L. 94–581, set out as a note under section 111 of this title.

Pub. L. 94–321, §1(b), June 29, 1976, 90 Stat. 714, provided that: "The amendments made by subsection (a) of this section with respect to subsection (f) (as redesignated by subsection (a)(3) of this section) of section 3301 [now 5701] of title 38, United States Code (except for the increase in criminal penalties for a violation of the second sentence of such subsection (f)), shall be effective with respect to names or addresses released on and after October 24, 1972."

Effective Date of 1962 Amendment

Pub. L. 87–671, §4, Sept. 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 557, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [enacting section 4009 [now 7109] of this title and amending this section] shall be effective January 1, 1963."

Regulations

Pub. L. 109–461, title II, §204(c), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3411, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations under subsection (k) of section 5701 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 22, 2006]."

§5702. Furnishing of records

(a) Any person desiring a copy of any record, paper, and so forth, in the custody of the Secretary that may be disclosed under section 5701 of this title must submit to the Secretary an application in writing for such copy. The application shall state specifically—

(1) the particular record, paper, and so forth, a copy of which is desired and whether certified or uncertified; and

(2) the purpose for which such copy is desired to be used.


(b) The Secretary may establish a schedule of fees for copies and certification of such records.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1236, §3302; renumbered §5702 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), (d)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(xii), (b)(1), (2)(E), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 403–405; Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(e)(16), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4686.)

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–446, §1201(e)(16)(A), (B), inserted "(a)" before "Any person desiring" and substituted "custody of the Secretary that may be disclosed under section 5701 of this title must submit to the Secretary an application in writing for such copy. The application shall state" for "custody of the Secretary, which may be disclosed under section 5701 of this title, must make written application therefor to the Secretary, stating".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–446, §1201(e)(16)(C), which directed amendment of subsec. (c) by substituting "may establish" for "is authorized to fix", was executed to subsec. (b) to reflect the probable intent of Congress, because the language sought to be amended appears in subsec. (b) and this section does not contain a subsec. (c).

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 3302 of this title as this section.

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(xii), which directed amendment of subsec. (a) of this section by substituting "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places, was executed to the undesignated first par., to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "5701" for "3301" in undesignated first par.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

§5703. Certification of records of District of Columbia

When a copy of any public record of the District of Columbia is required by the Secretary to be used in determining the eligibility of any person for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary, the official custodian of such public record shall without charge provide the applicant for such benefits or any person (including any veterans' organization) acting on the veteran's behalf or the authorized representative of the Secretary with a certified copy of such record.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1237, §3303; Pub. L. 99–576, title VII, §701(78), Oct. 28, 1986, 100 Stat. 3298; renumbered §5703, Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238; Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(1), (2)(A)(xiii), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 403.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–40 renumbered section 3303 of this title as this section.

Pub. L. 102–83 substituted "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places and "administered by the Secretary" for "administered by the Veterans' Administration".

1986Pub. L. 99–576 substituted "the veteran's" for "his".

§5704. Transcript of trial records

The Secretary may purchase transcripts of the record, including all evidence, of trial of litigated cases.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1237, §3304; renumbered §5704, Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238; Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404, 405.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–40 renumbered section 3304 of this title as this section.

Pub. L. 102–83 substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

§5705. Confidentiality of medical quality-assurance records

(a) Records and documents created by the Department as part of a medical quality-assurance program (other than reports submitted pursuant to section 7311(g) 1 of this title) are confidential and privileged and may not be disclosed to any person or entity except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a record or document described in subsection (a) of this section shall, upon request, be disclosed as follows:

(A) To a Federal agency or private organization, if such record or document is needed by such agency or organization to perform licensing or accreditation functions related to Department health-care facilities or to perform monitoring, required by statute, of Department health-care facilities.

(B) To a Federal executive agency or provider of health-care services, if such record or document is required by such agency or provider for participation by the Department in a health-care program with such agency or provider.

(C) To a criminal or civil law enforcement governmental agency or instrumentality charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health or safety, if a qualified representative of such agency or instrumentality makes a written request that such record or document be provided for a purpose authorized by law.

(D) To health-care personnel, to the extent necessary to meet a medical emergency affecting the health or safety of any individual.


(2) The name of and other identifying information regarding any individual patient or employee of the Department, or any other individual associated with the Department for purposes of a medical quality-assurance program, contained in a record or document described in subsection (a) of this section shall be deleted from any record or document before any disclosure made under this subsection if disclosure of such name and identifying information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

(3) No person or entity to whom a record or document has been disclosed under this subsection shall make further disclosure of such record or document except for a purpose provided in this subsection.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authority to withhold any record or document from a committee of either House of Congress or any joint committee of Congress, if such record or document pertains to any matter within the jurisdiction of such committee or joint committee.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the use of records and documents described in subsection (a) of this section within the Department (including contractors and consultants of the Department).

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or requiring withholding from any person or entity the disclosure of statistical information regarding Department health-care programs (including such information as aggregate morbidity and mortality rates associated with specific activities at individual Department health-care facilities) that does not implicitly or explicitly identify individual patients or employees of the Department, or individuals who participated in the conduct of a medical quality-assurance review.

(c) For the purpose of this section, the term "medical quality-assurance program" means—

(1) with respect to any activity carried out before October 7, 1980, a Department systematic health-care review activity carried out by or for the Department for the purpose of improving the quality of medical care or improving the utilization of health-care resources in Department health-care facilities; and

(2) with respect to any activity carried out on or after October 7, 1980, a Department systematic health-care review activity designated by the Secretary to be carried out by or for the Department for either such purpose.


(d)(1) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. In prescribing such regulations, the Secretary shall specify those activities carried out before October 7, 1980, which the Secretary determines meet the definition of medical quality-assurance program in subsection (c)(1) of this section and those activities which the Secretary has designated under subsection (c)(2) of this section. The Secretary shall, to the extent appropriate, incorporate into such regulations the provisions of the administrative guidelines and procedures governing such programs in existence on October 7, 1980.

(2) An activity may not be considered as having been designated as a medical quality-assurance program for the purposes of subsection (c)(2) of this section unless the designation has been specified in such regulations.

(e) Any person who, knowing that a document or record is a document or record described in subsection (a) of this section, willfully discloses such record or document except as provided for in subsection (b) of this section shall be fined not more than $5,000 in the case of a first offense and not more than $20,000 in the case of a subsequent offense.

(Added Pub. L. 96–385, title V, §505(a), Oct. 7, 1980, 94 Stat. 1535, §3305; amended Pub. L. 99–166, title II, §201, Dec. 3, 1985, 99 Stat. 949; renumbered §5705 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §§402(b)(1), 403(b)(2), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 102–54, §14(d)(4), June 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 285; Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(F), (3), (4), (b)(1), (2)(E), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404, 405.)

References in Text

Section 7311(g) of this title, referred to in subsec. (a), was repealed by Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(g)(5), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4687.

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 3305 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Pub. L. 102–40, §403(b)(2), substituted "section 7311(g)" for "section 4152(b)".

Subsec. (b)(1)(A), (B). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(F)(i), substituted "patient or employee of the Department" for "Veterans' Administration patient or employee".

Subsec. (b)(5). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places.

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places.

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(F)(ii), substituted "patients or employees of the Department," for "Veterans' Administration patients or employees".

Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" wherever appearing.

Pub. L. 102–54, §14(d)(4)(A), amended subsec. (c)(1) as in effect immediately before the enactment of Pub. L. 102–40 by substituting "October 7, 1980" for "the date of the enactment of this section".

Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places.

Pub. L. 102–54, §14(d)(4)(A), amended subsec. (c)(2) as in effect immediately before the enactment of Pub. L. 102–40 by substituting "October 7, 1980" for "the date of the enactment of this section".

Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" wherever appearing.

Pub. L. 102–54, §14(d)(4)(B)(i)–(iii), amended subsec. (d)(1) as in effect immediately before the enactment of Pub. L. 102–40 by substituting "The" for "Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the" in first sentence, substituting "October 7, 1980," for "such enactment date" in second sentence, and striking out "existing" after "provisions of the" and inserting "in existence on October 7, 1980" after "such programs" in last sentence.

Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 102–54, §14(d)(4)(B)(iv), amended subsec. (d)(2) as in effect immediately before the enactment of Pub. L. 102–40 by substituting "An activity may not be considered" for "After the date on which such regulations are first prescribed, no activity shall be considered".

1985—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99–166, §201(1), inserted "(other than reports submitted pursuant to section 4152(b) of this title)" after "program".

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 99–166, §201(2), added par. (6).

Effective Date

Section effective Oct. 7, 1980, see section 601(d) of Pub. L. 96–385, set out as an Effective Date of 1980 Amendment note under section 1114 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§5706. Veterans identification card

(a) In General.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall issue an identification card described in subsection (b) to each veteran who—

(1) requests such card;

(2) presents a copy of Department of Defense form DD–214 or other official document from the official military personnel file of the veteran that describes the service of the veteran; and

(3) pays the fee under subsection (c)(1).


(b) Identification Card.—An identification card described in this subsection is a card issued to a veteran that—

(1) displays a photograph of the veteran;

(2) displays the name of the veteran;

(3) explains that such card is not proof of any benefits to which the veteran is entitled to;

(4) contains an identification number that is not a social security number; and

(5) serves as proof that such veteran—

(A) served in the Armed Forces; and

(B) has a Department of Defense form DD–214 or other official document in the official military personnel file of the veteran that describes the service of the veteran.


(c) Costs of Card.—(1) The Secretary shall charge a fee to each veteran who receives an identification card issued under this section, including a replacement identification card.

(2)(A) The fee charged under paragraph (1) shall equal such amount as the Secretary determines is necessary to issue an identification card under this section.

(B) In determining the amount of the fee under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall ensure that the total amount of fees collected under paragraph (1) equals an amount necessary to carry out this section, including costs related to any additional equipment or personnel required to carry out this section.

(C) The Secretary shall review and reassess the determination under subparagraph (A) during each five-year period in which the Secretary issues an identification card under this section.

(3) Amounts collected under this subsection shall be deposited in an account of the Department available to carry out this section. Amounts so deposited shall be—

(A) merged with amounts in such account;

(B) available in such amounts as may be provided in appropriation Acts; and

(C) subject to the same conditions and limitations as amounts otherwise in such account.


(d) Effect of Card on Benefits.—(1) An identification card issued under this section shall not serve as proof of any benefits that the veteran may be entitled to under this title.

(2) A veteran who is issued an identification card under this section shall not be entitled to any benefits under this title by reason of possessing such card.

(e) Administrative Measures.—(1) The Secretary shall ensure that any information collected or used with respect to an identification card issued under this section is appropriately secured.

(2) The Secretary may determine any appropriate procedures with respect to issuing a replacement identification card.

(3) In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall coordinate with the National Personnel Records Center.

(4) The Secretary may conduct such outreach to advertise the identification card under this section as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(f) Construction.—This section shall not be construed to affect identification cards otherwise provided by the Secretary to veterans enrolled in the health care system established under section 1705(a) of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 114–31, §2(b), July 20, 2015, 129 Stat. 428.)

Effective Date

Pub. L. 114–31, §2(d), July 20, 2015, 129 Stat. 430, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [enacting this section] shall take effect on the date that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [July 20, 2015]."

Veterans Identification Card; Findings

Pub. L. 114–31, §2(a), July 20, 2015, 129 Stat. 428, provided that:

"Congress makes the following findings:

"(1) Effective on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act [July 20, 2015], veteran identification cards were issued to veterans who have either completed the statutory time-in-service requirement for retirement from the Armed Forces or who have received a medical-related discharge from the Armed Forces.

"(2) Effective on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, a veteran who served a minimum obligated time in service, but who did not meet the criteria described in paragraph (1), did not receive a means of identifying the veteran's status as a veteran other than using the Department of Defense form DD–214 discharge papers of the veteran.

"(3) Goods, services, and promotional activities are often offered by public and private institutions to veterans who demonstrate proof of service in the military, but it is impractical for a veteran to always carry Department of Defense form DD–214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof.

"(4) A general purpose veteran identification card made available to veterans would be useful to demonstrate the status of the veterans without having to carry and use official Department of Defense form DD–214 discharge papers.

"(5) On the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs had the infrastructure in place across the United States to produce photographic identification cards and accept a small payment to cover the cost of these cards."