How Can You Craft an Effective VA Buddy Letter?

When submitting a Disability Compensation claim to the Veterans Affairs (VA), you may need more than just medical records to support your case. A VA Buddy Letter, also known as a Statement in Support of a Claim, can offer powerful, personal evidence to help validate your application. As a detailed account from people who know you and can testify first-hand about your condition, a VA Buddy Letter can fill gaps in medical or service records, and help paint a clearer picture of your situation.

Here’s what you need to know to craft an effective VA Buddy Letter.

Assessing The Need for a VA Buddy Letter

A VA Buddy Letter can serve as Lay Evidence, which is a non-expert testimony about the Veteran’s situation. This letter is helpful in many scenarios, such as:

  • Corroborating an incident or injury: If your medical or service records do not fully cover an incident or injury during your service time, a VA Buddy Letter can be a crucial piece of supporting evidence.
  • Adding Context to Medical symptoms: Sometimes, medical records might not adequately convey the full impact of a disability. A Buddy Letter can present a clearer picture of the daily struggles and changes observed in the Veteran’s life due to the disability.
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Who Can Write a VA Buddy Letter

A credible VA Buddy Letter could be written by:

  • Former service members who served alongside you and can provide first-hand account about how an in-service event affected you.
  • Family members or friends who can describe changes in your personality or behavior before and after your service.

Components of a Good VA Buddy Letter

1. Introduction

The letter should introduce the writer, their relationship with the veteran, and the extent of their interaction. It’s important to include:

  • Contact Information: The writer’s name and a way to reach them.
  • Time and nature of relationship: How long they’ve known the veteran and in what capacity.

2. Detailed Incident

The writer should describe the incident and the changes observed in the Veteran before and after the event.

3. Effect on Daily Life

This section is to describe the impact of the disability on the Veteran’s daily life, activities, personality, and more. It provides a window into the struggles faced by the Veteran due to the disability.

4. Formal Closure

End the letter with the writer’s signature, date, and a formal declaration verifying the truthfulness of the information in the statement.

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Submission Process

After reflecting the Veteran’s situation accurately and honestly, it’s time to submit the VA Buddy Letter along with the rest of the claim documents. You could either send them all together at once through a Fully Developed Claims program for a quicker decision or opt for a Standard Claim, where VA plays a larger role in gathering the necessary evidence.


A well-written VA Buddy Letter can significantly strengthen a VA disability claim by providing a personal perspective that traditional evidence may lack. Ensuring the letter is clear, specific, truthful, and focuses on the impact of the disability on the daily life of the Veteran could greatly aid in successfully claiming VA disability compensation. Crafting a compelling VA Buddy Letter may take some time, but remember, your voice matters a great deal in this process, and a powerful statement might just make a critical difference in your claim.

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