Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

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Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

The Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law Article 6) is New York State’s principal statute on providing for public access to government records. The Records Access Officer is responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records.

“Record” means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for OTDA, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.

How to Make a FOIL Request

If you wish to access a record under FOIL, you must make your request in writing. Please be as specific as possible in describing the records in which you are interested. Within five business days of the receipt of a written request, we will send a written acknowledgement that we received the request. Please send your inquiry using the Open FOIL NY online request form, or send via mail, fax or e-mail to:

Records Access Officer
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
40 North Pearl, 16th floor
Albany, NY 12243
FAX: (518) 486-6935

Open FOIL NY online form

How to Inspect and Copy Records

Records will be made available for inspection and copying, by pre-arranged appointment at:

40 North Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12243
Between: 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, on business days
For appointment e-mail:

Why You Might Be Denied Access to a FOIL Request

Certain records or portions thereof are exempted from disclosure under authority of Public Officers Law Section 87.2 (a.1). These records include those which:

  • are specifically exempted from disclosure under state or federal statute;
  • if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
  • if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;
  • are trade secrets or are submitted to the department or are derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise;
  • are complied for law enforcement purposes and which if disclosed would interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings, deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication, identity a confidential source or disclose confidential information regarding a criminal investigation, or reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures;
  • if disclosed would endanger the life or safety of any person;
  • are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not statistical or factual tabulations or data, instructions to staff which affect the public or are final agency policies or determinations, are external audits, including audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government computer codes;
  • are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.

A denial of access must be in writing, stating the reason for denial and advising you of your right to an appeal.

How to Appeal When You’ve Been Denied Access

If you’ve been denied access by the Records Access Officer, you will be notified by them in writing. You have a right to appeal, but you must do so within 30 days. An appeal must be filed in writing and mailed, faxed or emailed to OTDA’s Appeal Office at the below address:

Craig Crist, Associate Counsel
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
40 North Pearl, 16th floor
Albany, NY 12243
Fax: 518-474-9389

Please use this e-mail address for the purpose of submitting appeals only.

FOIL Fee Schedule

There is a charge of $0.25 per page for copies of documents or the actual cost of reproducing other types of records, or costs associated with responding to requests for expedited delivery of records.

For more information on the Freedom of Information Law, please visit the Committee on Open Government Website.

Subject Matter List

Pursuant to section 87(3)(c) of the Public Officers Law, a subject matter list of records in the possession of the agency has been posted to this website.

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