Can You Provide an Example of a VA Lay Statement?

When it comes to filing a claim for VA disability benefits, lay statements play a crucial role in painting a clear picture of their daily hardships due to service-connected disabilities. These testimonials, often provided by veterans or those close to them, differ from medical evidence as they reflect the real-life impacts of these conditions.

Concept of VA Lay Statement

A VA lay statement, also known as a ‘buddy statement’ or ‘statement in support of claim’, provides testamentary evidence about the impacts of service-connected ailments. This form of evidence can be submitted by people who have first-hand knowledge about the life and experiences of the veteran after their military service. This could be a spouse, a close relative, a friend, or even a fellow veteran.

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Role of VA Lay Statement in Claims

The primary purpose of a lay statement is to establish service incurrence or aggravation, particularly in cases where Service Treatment Records (STRs) are absent. Of crucial significance is the nexus letter, which is a professionally authored document linking a veteran’s condition to their military service. However, a VA lay statement forms an essential complementary document that provides a personal context, detailing your life and limitations imposed by your condition in terms more relatable and tangible than just medical treatment records.

Who Can Write a Lay Statement

People eligible to write a lay statement are:

  • Spouse or family members
  • Friends
  • Former colleagues or peers from military service
  • Supervisors or commanding officers
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Guide to Writing a Lay Statement

While there isn’t a singular required process or form for submitting a VA lay statement, there are general guidelines to make the statement effective and persuasive:

1. Introduction: This should contain the name, contact information, your relationship with the veteran, how you met, and the frequency of your interactions.

2. Comparison: Discuss the behavioral or physical changes observed in the veteran pre and post the in-service stressor or event leading to the disability. This could cover physical distress, mental health issues, shifts in personality, and even impacts on work or social life.

3. Statement: Delve into the details of the current symptoms that the veteran is experiencing. Include detailed descriptions of pain, tasks that have become challenging, and changes in routine lifestyle.

4. Certification: The statement should end with your name, date, and a certification phrase like: “I certify that the statements on this form are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

5. Clarity and Brevity: Your lay statement should be clear, concise, and to the point, ideally no more than 3-5 paragraphs. Avoid any irrelevant details, stick to facts and incidents you have personally witnessed or have knowledge about.


A well-written VA lay statement can make a pronounced difference in substantiating a veteran’s claim with the VA, raising the likelihood of receiving appropriate benefits. The most vital element for a persuasive statement lies in the attention to detail and authenticity. It fills in the gaps where formal documentation might fail, humanizing the claim by focusing on everyday impacts and struggles of living with service-connected disabilities. Such a statement, written from a place of empathy and understanding, can become a powerful testament in an appeal for VA disability benefits.

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