Why Is A VA Buddy Statement Important?
When applying for VA disability, you must prove a clear connection between your medical condition and military service. The more detailed and accurate information you provide, the more likely you’ll qualify for benefits. One way to strengthen your case is for someone close to you to write a buddy letter about your disability. Even if your evidence isn’t the strongest, a well-written and accurate letter may be exactly what you need for your claim to succeed.
What Exactly Is A Buddy Statement?
Also called a buddy letter or lay evidence, a VA buddy statement is a firsthand account written by a peer or loved one to help a veteran strengthen their claim. A buddy statement can help describe a veteran’s condition and how it’s affecting them daily. In addition, they can serve as eyewitness accounts of an event that caused the disability.
Who Can Write One For You?
Unlike nexus letters, anyone who has a direct connection to the veteran and is 18 or older can write a buddy statement. Some of the most popular sources used for buddy letters are a veteran’s spouse, adult child, trusted friend, or another fellow service member. The best lay statements are from people who can accurately describe their situation.
How to Write An Effective Buddy Letter
Buddy letters should be detailed and contain pertinent details about a veteran’s condition. If you want to strengthen your case, you need the following elements in your buddy statement:
A Clear Relationship With The Veteran
The best lay statements are from people who have a direct connection to the veteran and can describe their situation in detail. Finding another veteran who served with you can be the best option, and they can provide a personal recount of a specific event you went through during active duty. If you can’t find a fellow service member, a close relative or friend can be a reliable choice.
Describe What You’re Witnessing In Full Detail
It would help if you described the incident that led to your disability concisely but thoroughly to provide the relevant information the VA needs to know. For example, your spouse or loved one could write a buddy statement describing your behavior before and after your incident in the military.
Discuss The Veteran’s Current Symptoms
Stick with factual statements that can accurately depict the veteran’s condition. The more specific your “buddy” is about your current medical condition or incident, the more likely Veterans Affairs will consider their statement in determining your benefits.
Include Your Signature, The Date, And Certification
Lastly, you must include the date, a personal signature, and a statement certifying the information is valid before your witness submits the letter. While it may seem unnecessary, this is a crucial piece of the letter since it’s being used as a piece of legal evidence for your case.
When Should You File A Buddy Letter?
If you don’t have key evidence to support your VA disability claim, buddy letters become even more critical. PTSD, mental health disorders, and injuries sustained during combat are examples of situations where a buddy letter may be essential. Each of these scenarios require a firsthand account of the incident, or they are circumstances that have emerged following a veteran’s military service.
Our Experienced Attorneys Are Here To Help
If you need more evidence to support your VA disability claim, a convincing buddy statement can help you qualify. It can fill in any gaps in your VA application by providing additional details of the connection between your time in the military and your current medical condition. By choosing a reliable witness who knows your circumstances, you can improve your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.
If you have questions about using a buddy letter for your VA disability case, you can contact our New York veterans’ disability benefits lawyers at Turley, Redmond, and Rosasco. Call us at 855-599-2141 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.