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June 19, 2019

How to Write a VA Buddy Letter (Step-By-Step)

Last updated on March 24, 2021

To write a VA buddy letter is simply to write a credible statement in support of a claim, written by a competent individual 18 years of age or older, who has direct, first-hand knowledge of an event or injury, and offers an account of what they witnessed or are witnessing in support of a veterans VA disability claim.

These personal statements can be from a fellow service member, spouse, friend, pastor, co-worker, boss, adult child, or any other competent and credible witness.

A buddy letter can be the linchpin to winning your VA disability claim.

Why?

Because a buddy statement constitutes “lay evidence” under the law, which simply means “after the fact” evidence.

The Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) at the VA MUST consider a buddy letter because it’s considered a secondary source of evidence in support of your VA disability claim.

You might also like, The Value of Submitting a Personal Statement.

Listed below are the 4 essential elements of a buddy letter, along with a VA buddy letter example.

VA Buddy Letter Example: Use the VA Form 21-4138!

VA Buddy Letter Example
VA Buddy Letter Example

When writing or obtaining a buddy letter in support of a veteran’s VA disability claim, you can simply use the VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of a Claim.

I’ve heard others talk about why the VA Form 21-4138 might be hurting your claim…

Guess what?

They are wrong.

The VA Form 21-4138, official .pdf form is still the PREFERRED method of any personal statements according to VA Rating Officials.

A great VA buddy letter is short and sweet.

Think less is more.

We’re not writing a novel here guys.

VA Raters are very busy people, so you want to give them the exact information they need, at the moment they need it to help support a Veterans VA disability claim.

In 3-4 paragraphs, you should explain (1) your name, information, and how you know the veteran. (2) what you witnessed or are witnessing, (3) the veterans’ current symptoms of the disability, and (4) sign and date your name to the best of your knowledge and belief.

WATCH: The Essential Elements of a Winning VA Buddy Letter

WATCH: VA Buddy Letter Tips

Listed below is a VA buddy letter example.

You can write these four parts on a VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of a Claim.

Part 1: How do you know the Veteran?

In part 1, you need to explain how you know the Veteran.

Here is an example of how to write this section:

“My name is John Doe, and I’m the husband of veteran [INSERT VETERANS NAME].

I’m writing this statement on behalf of veteran [INSERT VETERANS NAME].

I have known [VETERAN] since 1999, because we were high school sweethearts.

Over the past 30 years, we have interacted daily.”

Part 2: What you witnessed or are witnessing.

In part 2, you need to explain in detail what you witnessed or are witnessing in regard to the event or incident.

You do NOT need to explain every detail.

Here is an example of how to write this section:

“When I first met [VETERAN], before she entered active duty military service, she was happy, fun loving, and had no mental health issues whatsoever.

All of that changed in July 2004, when she was raped by another service member while TDY to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

It became very evident to me that she suffered from severe PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

I encouraged her to get help and seek treatment many times over the years, but because she was an officer, and worked with senior military leaders, she was afraid of retaliation and reprisal.”

Part 3: The veterans’ current symptoms of the disability.

In part 3, you need to explain the veteran’s current symptoms of the disability.

Again, you do NOT need to explain every detail, just the things you know about.

Here is an example of how to write this section:

“Throughout our marriage, I witnessed her suffer from severe depression, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, relationship problems, trust issues, anger issues, panic attacks 3-5x per week, memory problems, and sexual dysfunction, among many others.

The rape mentioned above by a fellow service member has affected her so much that it is my belief she cannot have a normal relationship with anyone, anymore, which was a huge reason why we’ve had numerous marital challenges over the years.

I am 100% certain that her PTSD, depression, and anxiety is due to the rape.”

Part 4: Sign and date your name to the best of your knowledge and belief.

In part 4, you need to sign and date your name.

Here is an example of how to write this section:

Signed, John Doe, January 23, 2019.

“I CERTIFY THAT the statements on this form are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

Read about Spousal Buddy Letter HERE.

Deserve a Higher VA Rating for PTSD?

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About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is VA disability expert, former Air Force captain, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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