What is a Buddy Letter? An Example for a VA Claim Explained

Applying for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs sources, it’s crucial to provide compelling evidence that connects your disability to your military service. An effective tool to bolster your claim is a buddy letter, also known as a buddy statement, which provides insightful firsthand information about your disability and how it affects your life.

What is a Buddy Letter?

A buddy letter is a written account by someone well-acquainted with the veteran and their condition, which supports and strengthens their VA disability claim. These poignant statements are often drafted by spouses, family members, friends, or fellow service members to corroborate the claim that the veteran’s condition is connected to their military service. Often used when official records are missing or there are gaps in medical history, these statements serve as lay evidence, shedding light on incidents or injuries lacking formal documentation.

writing in the morning

Why are Buddy Letters Important?

Buddy letters are deemed as credible and significant evidence by the VA. These letters, especially from those who served alongside you, can fill in the gaps in medical records or corroborate in-service stressors, adding credibility to your documentation. This is particularly crucial when the event or injury didn’t require immediate medical attention or when medical records were lost or destroyed.

Who Can Write a Buddy Letter?

A buddy statement can be drawn up by anyone who is at least 18 years old, intimately knows the veteran, and can act as a reliable witness to their condition. This can include:

  • Fellow service members
  • Spouses
  • Friends
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Children
  • Co-workers
  • Employers
  • Caregivers

Additionally, veterans can write their own buddy statements.

writing on computer

How to Write a Buddy Letter?

A powerful buddy statement should be concise, accurate, and should not exaggerate symptoms or conditions. It’s divided generally into four parts:

  • Introduction:
This encapsulates the person’s name, contact information, and their relationship to the veteran. Any details about the service, units, and location should be accurately captured.

  • Details about in-service stressor:
For a statement corroborating an in-service stressor, it should detail when and where the stressor occurred.

  • Current Symptoms:
The person should thoroughly explain the veteran’s current symptoms. This information should be firsthand and not speculated.

  • Signature and Date:
The writer should sign and date the statement. This declaration underlines that the provided information is accurate to the best of the writer’s knowledge.


A buddy letter is a powerful ally in strengthening your disability benefit claim. These personal accounts provide a unique perspective, filling in gaps in official records, and corroborating incidents leading to the disability. These accounts bring the unrecorded experiences of a veteran to light, helping the VA validate their claims. Remember to keep the information accurate, concise, and sincere when writing or requesting a buddy letter for a VA claim.

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