"Bill says that pension files are $25. If you click the NARA link he provided and look at the order forms, the compiled service records and the selected pension file packets are $30. The full pension file is $80.
It is important to get the full packet. You'll get 3 or 4 times as much or more in the full packet. For example, before 2000, you could only get the selected documents. I ordered my gg grandfather, John M. Carder's file and received 16 pages. When the full files became available, I reordered it and got 89 pages, including an affidavit made by a daughter whose existence I hadn't known of until I received the second packet.
Pension files are actually the cheapest records you can get when you think that an Ohio death certificate costs $27 for one page and a pension file averages over 80 pages. I have one that is 395 pages!
Also, if the soldier died while in service and the widow filled for a pension, you can get it free on Fold3. A subscription to Fold3 costs less than the price of one pension file and you will find so much more about your ancestors on there that the subscription is a bargain.
I love pension files. They are my favorite records because you get so much and get things that you won't ever find anywhere else. You can really get a good picture of your ancestors' lives through their pension files."