Understanding the Importance of Buddy Statements in Your VA Disability Claim 

When figuring out a veteran’s VA disability claim, it is always important to look at valid information. One of these pieces of information could come from a friend, peer, or family member who knows about your disability and can vouch for it. Buddy statements can help you win your disability claim.  

However, they are frequently overlooked because they rarely result in inaccuracies, particularly when calculating your rating. 

Our J4V disability calculator, estimates your percentage of disability. This calculation, when combined with a detailed VA buddy letter or statement, strengthens your claim. This can help you maintain consistency in your condition. 

First, let’s talk about what a VA buddy statement is, how to write a good one, and when to give it. This will make sure that your buddy statement is consistent.   

What is a VA Buddy Statement? 

A VA buddy statement, also known as a lay statement or lay evidence, is supplemented by people fully acquainted with the veteran. They are the people who can confirm your disability and fill in some gaps in your claim, as long as they are in the designated adulthood age range of 18 or older

Here are some of the people that can be the main source of buddy statements: 

  • The veteran’s spouse 
  • Close or immediate relatives 
  • An adult child of the veteran 
  • A friend of the veteran 
  • A fellow service member 
  • A mentor, teacher, or pastor  

It functions the same way as an eyewitness report that relays firsthand accounts of your disability. Most of its contents include a detailed individual description of how an event took place during your disability. 

A VA buddy letter is a good way to talk about any problems your loved one has seen with your physical or mental health. Even if other pieces of evidence are still needed to confirm a physical disability, personal stories can be very helpful when the symptoms of a condition are not clear during a doctor’s visit. 

Tips for writing an effective buddy statement?

Using a VA buddy statement form, also known as a 21-4138 form, will make it easier to use buddy statements in your VA disability claim. It’s called a Statement in Support of Claim, and it has 3–5 paragraphs that explain the veteran’s disability. It’s the easiest and most preferred way to write a letter to the VA. 

Remember that if you want to write a good buddy statement, it should include details about the disability and stick to the facts of the claim. To get the right VA rating for your disability, you need to show that you are competent and trustworthy. Here are some tips for writing an effective buddy statement: 

  1. In the first part of VA Form 21-4138, you need to write down the name of the disability you want to claim. It is also important to take note of the diagnostic codes. 
  1. Describe the timeframe of the disability, how it began, and why it is service-connected. You may also include the details of why your VA rating should incur an increase if the claimed conditions are already connected to the service. 
  1. List the latest disability symptoms. Remember to include its severity, frequency, and duration. 
  1. It is also essential to discuss how it impacts your work, life, and other social functions. 

It is also important to know that VA Form 21-4138 is the most preferred form of document when submitting a VA buddy statement, which is why it is best to use it. If the author is not submitting the statement on the form, they should include the sentence, “I certify that my statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.” 

Remember that statements should be brief but include all relevant factual information. To avoid any conflicting information about what you are experiencing, it is also critical that the individual involved in writing the statement has personal knowledge of your disability. A simple but insignificant error can be detrimental to your statement. 

Common mistakes to avoid with buddy statements 

Buddy statements can be critical for your VA claim and, therefore, should be written with extreme caution. Here are some of the common mistakes you should avoid: 

(Note: Remember that you have to be open, accurate, and, in this case, vulnerable when writing the statement.) 

Writing Long Statements 

There is a reason why the VA statement support claim has a threshold of 3-5 paragraphs at the maximum. Reading long statements is time-consuming, and VA raters will have a difficult time assessing your claim. 

Using complex words 

Remember that you are writing a statement of your claim and not a prose. VA raters are busy, and your claim will be easier to evaluate if it is straightforward. 

Over Description 

This error aligns with writing long statements. Explain the details of the disability, along with its frequency. 

When should you submit a Buddy Statement? 

For your VA claim, you may need to get information from a friend or family member in situations like when you lost your medical records. These are the specific instances when you should submit a buddy statement: 

Lost medical documents 

After a few years, most medical facilities dispose of or destroy their medical records. This is where credible statements can help by providing the necessary information.  

Due to the loss of most documents, there is no viable information to detail the claim. As a result, the buddy or personal statement is used. 

Combat-Related Claims 

Combat-related claims involve those who did not receive medical attention or documentation while fighting.  

Eventually, this develops into a ratable impairment that another military member present at the time of the injury can account for. 

Historical Narrative 

These statements are delivered by the family of the veteran or anyone who is close to them and has firsthand experience of what the veteran is going through. If a family member notices a change in the veteran, they can fill in the details of how it affects the veteran. 

It is always important to consider the details whenever using a buddy statement for your VA claim. Most VA claims that rely on a buddy statement often result in confusion, which makes it difficult to determine the facts about your condition. 

Your service to the country deserves every bit of recognition, so if you need further help claiming your VA disability compensation, please email us at [email protected] or book a strategy call

You might be interested to read this article: VA Rating for Kidney Disease.

DISCLAIMER : Just4Veterans LLC is NOT an accredited agent, attorney, entity or VSO recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is not affiliated with the VA in any way. Veterans shall prepare and file their own claim with an accredited representative, who may offer their services for FREE. Veterans may search for and appoint an accredited VSO.