BIRLS veteran data

Todd Feathers filed this request with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration of the United States of America .
Est. Completion None
In Litigation


From: Todd Feathers

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

1) A copy of the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator System (BIRLS) master file database, limited to deaths that occurred after Jan. 1, 2001 and the following data fields:
- Name of veteran
- Entry and release from active duty
- Branch of service
- Military discharge information
- Date of death

To clarify my request: I understand that certain information in the BIRLS master file database, such as social security numbers, is exempt from disclosure. I am asking that those data fields be excluded and the responsive record, which can be easily generated by a filtered query of the BIRLS database, be limited to the data fields mentioned above.

A complete description of the BIRLS master file can be found at:

I ask that all fees be waived for this request as I am a journalist and I intend to use the requested records to publish articles in the public's interest and not for any commercial purpose.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Todd Feathers

From: Todd Feathers


It has been eight months since I submitted this request. The FOIA allows 20 business days for a response. Please acknowledge that you are processing the request and provide me with a tracking number and estimated date of completion.

Todd Feathers

From: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration

Good Afternoon Mr. Feathers,

Thank you for your email. The BIRLS data is in litigation at this time. An update will be provided once a ruling is released on the case.

Thank you,

Gwendolyn Smith, GWPM
Management Analyst/FOIA Officer
Office of Administration and Facilities
Veterans Benefits Administration
LEAD Alumni
Phone: 202-632-8928
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