Not all evidence for your VA Disability Claim needs to be from a doctor or your service record. A statement from a friend, family member, or someone you served with can be very effective evidence when trying to receive service connection or an increased evaluation for a service-connected condition. To maximize results, there are some guidelines to follow.
No matter what the statement’s purpose may be, each statement should:
The statement does not need to be made on a form, but if using one, use VA Form 21-4138.
Statements in support of claims establishing a nexus between a current disability and service can be used to establish a stressor for PTSD or an in-service injury or event. For example, if someone experiences a sexual assault while in service, and a friend or family member was aware of or witnessed it, they could write a statement attesting to that knowledge describing what they know or saw.
Statements can also be used to support a claim for an increased evaluation for a service-connected condition. For the statement to be effective, one should review the requirements for the next higher evaluation(s) and determine which symptoms the veteran has. The statement should focus on those symptoms and be based on what the person writing has witnessed. For example, a higher evaluation for headaches is warranted when a veteran has more frequent prostrating attacks. A friend’s statement should focus on the frequency of headaches and the symptoms witnessed. If the person has special skills allowing he or she to give a professional opinion (if they are a mental health or other healthcare professional, for example), they should include that information as well.
Our team of veterans’ attorneys fights for veterans who don’t receive the benefits they need and deserve. Our firm was founded by John Stevens Berry Sr., a three-tour Vietnam veteran who, upon his return to the United States, focused on helping soldiers coming home from war. Today, many of our attorneys and staff are veterans themselves, with former servicemembers from each of the four branches.
If you have a rating decision that needs to be appealed and you would like assistance in doing so, please contact our office for a free consultation.
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