The Role of Buddy Statements in Veteran Affairs’ Disability Claims
When a veteran files a disability claim with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, it is often a wise idea to supplement this claim with a “buddy statement” or “statement in support of claim” that substantiates the type of event that caused the veteran’s disability as well as where the event occurred. A knowledgeable attorney can help a veteran navigate issues concerning a disability claim as well as present as strong a case as possible to make sure that the veteran receives benefits.
The Importance of Buddy Statements
Buddy statements offer more information to the Veteran’s Affairs Office than a medical evaluation. One reason these reports are often more influential is that family, friends, or coworkers see an individual on a more frequent basis than a physician. These statements are also often able to place an individual’s symptoms into a daily context.
The Types of Buddy Statements
There are two types of buddy statements that a veteran can provide in support of their claim: statements written by military co-workers and statements written by non-military friends or family. Each of these statements has different purposes but can prove to be beneficial for a veteran. These statements can provide different values:
- Buddy Statements from Military Co-Workers. These statements help describe how a service-connected injury occurred. Ideally, the co-worker writing the letter should be someone who was with the disabled veteran and witnessed the accident that caused or aggravated the disability. This statement should detail about the event in question as much as possible including any mental or physical impact the activity had on the veteran.
- Buddy Statements from Non-Military Friends and Family Members. These letters should focus on how the service-connected disability has impacted the veteran’s daily life. In many cases, these letters will contrast the veteran’s before and after service as well as describe how this change has negatively impacted the veteran’s relationships with their children, friends, and spouse.
Advice on How to Write a Buddy Statement
There are some important steps that individuals should follow in writing a buddy statement. Some of the essential steps that individuals should follow when writing one of these documents include the following:
- Include a Closing Statement. The person who writes the Buddy Statement should include a closing passage to increase credibility.
- Keep the Document Short. Because the person who will evaluate the veteran’s claim must read a great deal of information, it is wise to keep this document to a maximum of one page and only include the most significant facts.
- Use the VA Form. It is acceptable to submit a buddy statement on a normal piece of paper, but it is a better idea to type the statement on a Veteran’s Affairs form.
Retain the Assistance of an Experienced Veterans Rights Attorney
If you are a veteran who is seeking disability benefits, it frequently helps to obtain the services of a skilled attorney who can help you through the process. Contact the legal counsel at Whitcomb, Selinsky, McAuliffe, PC or its disability arm, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group to obtain assistance with your disability case. Our conveniently located downtown Denver office can be reached at (303) 534-1958 or completing a quick and convenient online form.