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HHS FOIA Regulations (See Section 5.51) allow us to recover part of the costs associated with processing FOIA requests. For fee purposes, FOIA divides requesters into three categories:

1. Commercial use requesters are charged for any search time, document review, and duplication

2. News media, educational, or scientific requesters are charged for duplication only, after the first 100 pages

3. All other requesters are charged for search time (after two hours) and duplication (after 100 pages)

You may make a specific statement in your request limiting the amount of fees you are willing to pay. If you do not state a specific fee limit we will assume that you are willing to pay all fees incurred while processing your request. We will notify you if:


  • Your fees will exceed the limit
  • Your estimated fees exceed $250.00

You may receive the opportunity to narrow your request in order to reduce the fees, or you may be asked to confirm your commitment to pay the estimated amount. 


Fee Schedule

We charge fees for the search for and review of the records. The hourly charge is determined by the classification and grade level of the employee performing the search or review. When the search or review is performed by employees at grade GS-1 through GS-8 (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-5, step 7, employee; when done by a GS-9 through GS-14 (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-12, step 4,employee; and when done by a GS-15 or above (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-15, step 7, employee. In each case, the hourly rate will be computed by taking the current hourly rate listed for the specified grade and step in the General Schedule Locality Pay Table for the Locality of Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA, adding 16% of that rate to cover benefits, and rounding to the nearest whole dollar.

Fee Waivers

You may request a waiver for FOIA processing fees. However, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

For additional details see HHS FOIA Regulations (See Section 5.51)

(c) 2017 AINS