Oftentimes, Veterans do not understand how much of an impact a good buddy statement can have on their VA disability claim. In fact, Veterans who call our firm often ask us about what exactly a buddy statement is. Buddy statements, also known to the VA as a statement in support of claim, are statements made from a spouse, friend, fellow service member, family, or anybody who can verify the credibility of your claim. Because the VA has a duty to assist, they must take all evidence into consideration when making a decision on a VA disability claim. When determining service-connection for VA disabilities, buddy statements can go a long ways in improving the chances of receiving compensation. So how do Veterans go about submitting a buddy statement (statement in support of claim)?
To submit a buddy statement, an individual can fill out VA Form 21-4138. This form has an entire section labeled “Remarks,” where an individual can include any information they feel is relevant to the claim. When submitting a buddy statement, it is important to include all contact information for the “buddy.” By filling out this form, an individual is swearing that the content on the form is entirely true. Buddy statements can also be submitted in the form of notarized documents.
Any individual who has record of a Veteran’s disability can submit a buddy statement. Oftentimes, these statements come from family, friends, spouses, fellow Veterans, and/or coworkers. The individual submitting the statement must understand who the person was and how the injury, event, or disability impacted who they currently are. Because of this, we often see buddy statements come from fellow service members.
Firstly, to submit a buddy statement, an individual must have knowledge about the person and how the disability impacted them. For example, a Veteran cannot just have a friend submit a statement saying the individual applying for VA compensation has PTSD. Instead, they could submit a buddy statement which notes that prior to the disability, an individual was outgoing and social. But, upon returning from service or an event, they were sad, depressed, and stayed in most of the time. This helps to show that the event changed who the person was and that a disability was formed. Laying out another person’s view of the individual applying for VA disability can help the VA to get a better picture of how the disability affected the Veteran. By understanding that a buddy statement acts as evidence as to why a claim should be considered, it is easy to understand why specific details and certain aspects should be included. It is important to remember that, although it is helpful to include a lot of information, the employees at the VA read many of these a day. Best practice is to write a clear, concise statement(s) in support of the claim.
Berry Law’s VA accredited disability attorneys are committed to helping Veterans nationwide receive due compensation. As a firm founded and managed by Veterans, we often understand the difficulties fellow Veterans face when they return home. Our team of VA attorneys have significant experience appealing VA claims, and they have a full understanding of how buddy statements can support a VA claim. If you or somebody you know has been denied disability benefits from the VA or has received a rating that is too low, contact Berry Law today.
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