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Still waiting on records?

 

Last updated 5/4/2021 at 3:35pm | View PDF



Weeks ago, I wrote about the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) being mostly closed due to COVID-19 with staff unable to process requests for information. I warned that unless you have one of a very short list of essential reasons for asking, your request is going back on the pile to be handled later.

Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs is going to work with the National Archives and Records Administration to get COVID-19 vaccines to on-site staff so that they can return to work to process compensation claims. The VA is going to provide enrollment specialists and medical staff with vaccines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The short list of requests the NPRC is able to handle are true emergencies: records information so veterans can get medical treatment, burials and homeless veterans trying to get into homeless shelters.

And, no, in answer to one Missouri veteran who asked if he could just show up in St. Louis and do his own research. All National Archives research rooms are closed. All museums are closed. No tours, no school visits, nothing involving the public strolling in.

If you have a genuine emergency, you’ll need to fax them Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. The NPRC’s website says its fax machines are down, but here are alternate fax numbers to send your emergency request: 314-801-0764, 314-801-0762, 314-801-0569, 314-801-0984, 314-801-9195. Include an email address.

On the off chance the records you need have already been digitized online, check http://www.archives.gov, click Veterans’ Service Records. Unfortunately, at this point, all record digitizing has come to a halt.

One has to wonder about the true size of the records request backlog. A letter signed by 185 members of Congress gave the number as 480,000. It also mentions the $15 million given to NPRC to help get the backlog cleared, the emergency number that isn’t answered and the call center that isn’t staffed.

What did we get for that $15 million?

(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.

 

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