What is a Buddy Statement?
When you file a VA disability claim, it’s often helpful to provide a buddy statement. This will help to support your application packet or appeal. This can be done in a form of a letter from a witness to the event. A buddy letter is an example of a piece of lay evidence. For instance, the VA uses this evidence to review and take into consideration when determining a claim decision. This decision will confirm your VA rating.
Buddy Statements Help
You should have a witness write the buddy letter for several reasons. It must connect your current condition(s) to an injury or event in which you experienced while in service. Oftentimes, veterans don’t realize the impact a good buddy statement can have on their VA disability claim.
The buddy statement includes important details which can help you build your case. You may have heard of it as a “Statement in Support of Claim.” So, what should you include in a buddy statement? Without a doubt, there must be specific details about the event that causes your service-connected condition. This can include location, date, and details about the incident.
Types of Buddy Statements
Typically, there are two types of buddy statements that can support a claim.
1) Letters written by a friend, spouse, or family member
2) Letters written by military co-workers
Let’s take a closer look at the type of information included in each buddy statement.
- Buddy statement from friends and family – These letters draw a connection between your disability and the impact it has on your life, as well as, on your personal and professional relationships. The best buddy statements mention information about changes in you behavior or negative impacts on relationships with friends and family. A buddy letter written by family should address how the disability impacts your daily life and activities. The writer should indicate how your condition affects your quality of life.
- Buddy statement from co-workers – Unfortunately, events occur during military service that never get officially reported. Therefore, you should try to have a military co-worker write a buddy letter for you to help base details about the event which caused your service-connected disability. Buddy letters, which includes specific details that relate to the event, are most telling. It’s important for co-workers to address any change in behavior or physical health observed as a result of the incident. Your best bet here is to have someone from your unit write this statement.
In conclusion, buddy statements can play a critical part for managing a fair disability rating. Just make sure it actually reflects your condition. Because it’s sometimes hard to admit that we have been affected by our time in service, we don’t address our problems. Above all, a well written buddy statement is an open and honest description of your past experiences.
Do you need help understanding which disability benefits you may be eligible for? Learn how we can help you achieve the benefits you are entitled to for your honorable service to the nation. Contact us today!