Can You Type Out a VA Buddy Letter? Uncovering the Truth

Concerning the VA buddy letter, or a buddy statement, you might be trying to discover whether it needs to be a handwritten document or if it can be typed. The answer is that it can definitely be typed, ensuring a clear and readable document.

Understanding VA Buddy Letters

A VA buddy letter is a critical document in supporting a veteran’s claim for service-connected disabilities. The letters provide firsthand information about the incident that caused the disability, as well as the disability itself, especially when official records are missing, lost, or destroyed.

writing in the morning

Who Can Write a VA Buddy Letter?

These letters can be written by anyone who knows the veteran well, witnesses their condition, and is competent to make the statement. Persons who can write VA buddy letters include:

    • Fellow service members
    • Spouses
    • Friends
    • Family members
    • Co-workers
    • Caregivers

Veterans can also write their own buddy statements.

What Must VA Buddy Letters Include?

A well-crafted VA buddy letter should have the following sections:

    • Introduction: This part includes the writer’s name, how the writer knows the veteran, and for how long they’ve known them.
    • Incident details: Here, the writer includes as much information as possible regarding what occurred in service, such as the onset of the injury or illness. Remember to ensure the information is accurate and as detailed as possible.
    • After-effects: In this section, the writer should explain thoroughly the veteran’s current symptoms, including how they’ve affected the veteran and continue to do so.
    • Signature: The letter needs to be signed and dated, with a declaration that the writer is telling the truth. If the letter is not submitted on VA Form 4138, it should be notarized to be accepted by the VA.
writing on computer

When and How to Use a Buddy Letter

If medical records are lost or insufficient, a buddy letter can provide the evidence needed to make a compelling argument in support of a VA disability claim. The VA considers buddy letters to be a form of credible evidence when adjudicating the veteran’s claim. However, buddy letters are not a replacement for a nexus from a medical professional but an important additional component of a veteran’s disability claim.

Submitting VA Buddy Letters

There is no specific form or format required to submit a buddy letter. It can be either a handwritten letter or a drafted computer-generated document. However, the VA provides an optional form, VA Form 21-4138 (Statement in Support of a Claim), that you can use as a template.

fountain pen writing


In conclusion, a VA buddy letter can be typed or handwritten. As long as the letter is clear, truthful, and provides necessary details, it serves as valuable evidence to make a strong argument for a veteran’s disability claim. This document, alongside professional medical evaluations, could significantly strengthen your claim and help achieve the disability rating deserved.

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