As a Veteran, making a claim involves many steps and people. This process may even involve people in your life who are not experts in any particular field. These people can further support your claim when you make a claim through the VA to receive benefits for your service-connected disability.
When this happens, the person can sign a sworn declaration form to help back up your claim. However, you may not know what you need in this form or how it works. This article will go over everything a person needs to know when they write a sworn declaration.
A sworn declaration form is a statement or letter that a layperson writes to support a Veteran’s claim. Usually, this person is without medical expertise, and they can be a family member, friend, or even fellow service member.
When the layperson writes a sworn declaration form, they should overview the condition of the Veteran and explain how the disability has negatively affected their life. They can describe physical, mental, social, or occupational effects that the disability has had.
The sworn declaration form is lay evidence. Lay evidence is one type of evidence a Veteran may use to establish that their conditions are service connected or that their disability should be rated higher.
The purpose of this evidence is to give the VA more information to properly determine the Veteran’s benefits. This will help alleviate any confusion that the VA may have and prevent possible setbacks throughout the process. All of it will be used towards the VA’s decision, which sometimes can be faulty due to a lack of evidence and information.
The specific form for a sworn declaration is the VA Form 21-10210. When writing the sworn declaration, the layperson must signify that the information is true and according to their best knowledge about the situation and disability.
In a sworn declaration, the person is stating that the contents of the sworn declaration are factual and they are telling the truth in the eyes of the law. If the VA can prove that the writer of the sworn declaration is lying, they can face legal consequences.
The sworn declaration does not need to be notarized to be considered formal or valid. Also, due to the weight of the document, when a VA adjudicator reads one, they will usually consider it. Because there are serious consequences if one is found lying in a sworn declaration, many people are not willing to risk it for the benefits. Writing up a proper sworn declaration can help bolster a Veteran’s benefits.
If you need the specific form, you can visit this website and download the form when you go to fill it out.
When a layperson fills out a sworn declaration form, it will be divided into three sections. Most of the needed information is straightforward, making it easier to fill out.
The first section will be basic information, which includes:
The second section of the form asks if the person filing the claim is not a Veteran, such as a surviving spouse.
The third section is for the statement. In this part, the layperson can write out their sworn declaration.
Once this is all completed, the person must sign. Underneath that is a reminder of the consequences if the statement is found false.
When a Veteran goes to make a claim or an appeal, lay evidence can be used to describe a service event or injury. It can even be used to support an appeal for an increased rating by detailing the progression, severity, and symptoms of the Veteran’s disability.
If the Veteran cannot work due to their disability, they can use a sworn declaration form to help prove to the VA that they are entitled to individual unemployability benefits (IUB). They can describe how the disability has impacted their ability to work, compelling the VA to give the Veteran more benefits.
A sworn declaration can also help fill gaps in a claim due to the lack of medical evidence. Sometimes, Veterans are unable to seek medical attention in the service. When this happens, a sworn declaration can be used to detail the events and symptoms that followed an event or injury. It can also account for all of the information made in a VA claim.
It is common for information to be skewed and unaccounted for during the process. Sworn declarations are often used in these scenarios to clarify and correct information so that the VA has what they need to decide what benefits the Veteran will receive.
Finally, a sworn declaration can be used to fill in any missing gaps from the initial claim. It is common to overlook things since so much is involved when filling out a claim. The process can be challenging due to the amount of work, but with a sworn declaration, you strengthen your claim by giving the VA more evidence to work with.
During the whole VA claims process, it is easy to become overwhelmed. This is why a strong legal team to help support you along the way is important.
At Berry Law, our team will help ensure that you have the necessary information to file a claim. Getting the benefits that you deserve is our number one priority. Whether filing or appealing a claim, we have experienced attorneys that know the ins and outs of the whole process.
We can also assist in the sworn declaration form. Due to the weight of this form and the consequences of writing down false information, it is helpful to have objective opinions and advice to make sure that everything written is true. The last thing that any Veteran wants is another legal process due to false information.
Our goal is to serve you, so you get the benefits and ratings you deserve. Filing a claim can be an overwhelming task, so it is important to have people who can help alleviate some of the burdens along the way.
Sworn declaration forms are an important tool for filing a claim for a service-connected disability. A sworn declaration can go a long way to getting you the benefits and compensation you deserve.
It is essential to fill out all of the necessary information in a sworn declaration so that you will not have to deal with any possible setbacks. Along with that, make sure that everything that you or a layperson fills out is truthful. The VA can charge you with serious legal consequences if it is found false. You do not want to face that in any way. The best way to avoid that is to write everything to the best of your knowledge.
For more information on VA benefits or disability ratings, visit our website.
About VA Form 21-10210 | Veterans Affairs
The Medical Examiner as Factfinder: The Effect of the Lay Evidence Doctrine on VA’s Duty to Assist in Securing Medical Nexus | Board of Veterans’ Appeals
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