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Can I get a copy of my SF-50 from the Office of Personnel Management?

Bureaupat looks it up

By Bureaupat Nov 20 2009, 08:02 AM

Dear Bureaupat,

I live in Washington, D.C. Can I just go to the Office of Personnel Management to get a copy of my SF-50?

Dear Local,

Wow, the questions about the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, just keep on rollin' in. Unfortunately, this is one situation were living in Washington, D.C. — home of the federal government and one seriously underperforming NFL team  — provides absolutely no benefit.

While the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) manages the civil service of the federal government, including the policies, procedures and development of the SF-50, OPM itself is not a short- or long-term repository for your file.

If you are currently a federal employee, the best place to get a copy of your Official Personnel Folder (OPF), which includes your SF-50, is your agency's Human Resources office.

If you are a recent retiree or job-changer and left federal employment within the last 90 days, you may be able to request a copy from the HR office at your previous agency.

But in situations where the fine folks at HR are unable to help, you may request a copy of your SF-50, a complete copy of your OPF, or certain other forms by writing to:

National Personnel Records Center
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO  63118-4126

It is important to note that The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) stipulates that requests for information from federal records be signed and dated and in writing. That's right: only written requests for records may be made. No calls, emails, or faxes regarding personnel records will be accepted. And pleading "But Bureaupat said you'd help" won't work either. Trust me, I've tried that one myself. Good luck!

Yours in Gov,



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Joshua P.
August 4, 2010 11:06 PM

Bureaupat, you stated above that faxes will not be accepted when applying for a copy of one's SF-50. It may have taken an hour, but while researching the subject (before finding your above explanation), I found this statement from the OPM: "Alternatively, you may fax your hand signed request to the [National Personnel Records Center] at telephone number 314-801-9269." The FAQ from which I pulled that quote can be found here, under "Former Federal Employees": http://www.opm.gov/efoia/html/foia_contacts.asp I can see where the mistake might be made, as the NPRC itself says requests cannot be sent by telephone or e-mail, the former of which might be construed to also include faxes (http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/civilian-personnel/index.html). Evidently, faxing a written request still counts as submitting a written request, just that the NPRC won't have the original (I don't ever recommend sending your originals of anything to anyone. Photocopies work perfectly fine). Anywho, just stopping in to clear up any misconceptions. Enjoy!

Kim N.
September 26, 2011 11:57 AM

When requesting your SF50, you should have the following information:

1.  full name used during federal employment

2.  Social Security number

3.  date of birth

4.  name of employing federal agency or agencies

5.  approximate dates of service

This information came from www.ehow.com/how_5855676_copies-old-sf_50.html

October 12, 2012 10:32 AM

How long does it take toreceive your sf50












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