Before you start filing, you will need a buddy letter for your VA claim. It is essential to have all of your ducks in a row. One critical piece of the puzzle might end up being the “Buddy Letter.”
As you probably already know, winning your deserved claim with the VA can be quite a hassle. Not only is the VA’s system slow and outdated, but submitting a new claim can be confusing and mentally draining.
So what exactly is a Buddy Letter, and why is it so necessary to have one?
Your claim depends on a handful of things, but one major piece is providing evidence. For mental disabilities especially, providing evidence may seem extremely difficult. This is where a Buddy Letter comes in handy.
Essentially, Buddy Letters are statements about a veteran’s mental or physical impairments written by a credible adult. The author should be able to attest to the veteran’s behavior or physical conditions before and after the injury. Those who write these statements for veterans are spouses, friends, adult children, fellow service members, pastors, or family members. The person who writes these statements should attest that the veteran went into the service without the condition they currently have due to their time serving. The more Buddy Letters you have, the better. It is recommended that the veteran has two per disability claim they submit.
A buddy letter for your VA claim should be as detailed as possible, which is why it’s helpful to get one from a fellow service member who was present during the time of injury.
Too often, the VA misplaces a veteran’s medical records that could support their claim, and they’re often so busy. They fail to go the extra mile to help the veteran at hand. However, they are obligated to take into consideration “lay evidence,” which includes buddy statements.
If you are unsure about what a buddy statement should entail, check out this (backlink to an article about what a buddy letter should contain) article post for more information.