Skip to content

February 20, 2019

Submitting a Buddy Letter

Last updated on September 28, 2021

Let’s talk about the importance of submitting a buddy letter. If you are like most Veterans, you have copies all of your service medical treatment and detailed accounts via a personal journal of all your significant activities while in service. The reality is that this is the farthest thing from the truth for most Veterans.

submitting a buddy letter

So, then the question is, what are we supposed to do when we do not have records of critical incidents and events that may have led to an injury. Or the reason you are now dealing with a chronic ailment that may qualify for a disability claim? If you thought, I need to phone a battle buddy; you are on the right track. Buddy letters aka lay/witness statements, VA form 21-10210 can be very helpful to prove your case in the absence of complete records.

Who can Write a Buddy Letter?

There are different individuals that you can ask about submitting a buddy letter, old coworkers, current coworkers, bosses, family members and yes even your spouse or significant other. This last one comes as a shock to many of my veterans who think the account of their significant other might be biased, this is understandable. However, I would offer to you that when it comes to VA disability claims the VA gives the Veteran the benefit of the doubt and considers all aspects.

Why a Great Buddy Letter Can Help You Win Your VA Claim!

Why Should I be Submitting a Buddy Letter?

Let’s take Sleep Apnea for example. Sure, some of your old service buddies might be privy to your chainsaw snores and that one time you stopped breathing only to wake up to a coughing and gasping episode that woke everyone up. But your spouse or significant other would be able to shed a better perspective into the reality of your every day/night episodes. How you are affected, how you are when no one is watching.

That vulnerable place where you feel defeated, tired, out of energy, and plainly sick and tired of being sick and tired. This perspective is gold when you consider your diagnosis and medical evidence along with your personal statement. This rationale also applies to many other ailments you might be suffering from (PTSD, Erectile dysfunction, Female Sexual Arousal Disorder and so on)

While the focus of submitting a buddy statement may vary, one of the things I tell the Veterans I work with is that this is the icing on the cake. You don’t want too much, but just enough to help the rater understand your truth. Be SPECIFIC to the condition the buddy letter is addressing! Often one of the many pitfalls veterans fall into is they think someone else will piece together your story. The reality is you have to own your situation, your story, and your claim.

Guide Through the Process of Submitting a Buddy Letter

My job as a Veteran Coach is to help guide you through the process, this dark and often mysterious journey of VA Claims. If you think for a second, it would be great to have all your records, and every injury noted. Sadly, when it’s all said and done the VA rater will review everything that is presented to them (The C&P examiner‘s notes, your medical records, records they may find in your C-File you are unaware of and so on) concerning your claim.

The question is who will tell YOUR story. Too many times claims get denied, and veterans spend years fighting to only learn down the road their story was never fully explained or understood.

I will leave you with this example. Let’s say you and I both had chronic back and knee pains. We both jumped out of fully functional aircraft and went on great (Paid) scenic nature hikes, aka ruck marches. Years down the road we both have the common ailments, bad knees and a bad back with a slew of other things caused by these issues. We have limited records, so I just submit a claim, stating my MOS, my tours and maybe some current medical documents showing I have X, Y or Z diagnosed conditions.

You on the other hand, write your everyday reality and have buddy letters that touch on how you are affected to include that time you knee gave out carrying a footlocker, or how your spouse had to leave work to come to help you because your back gave out, and you were stuck in the restroom for three hours immobile. I think you know who is going to get the rating they deserve and who will probably get low balled.

Conclusion on Submitting a Buddy Letter

Don’t cheat yourself out of your hard-earned benefits and right to plead your case for your disability claim. We might not all have every key detail annotated on a military service treatment record, but with your personal statement and key buddy statement to piece together your story you have a much better chance. If you need help don’t go it alone, your trust Veteran Coaches are here to help.

You Served You Deserve!

And we’ve got your six! Become an Elite Member and talk with one of our Veteran Coaches to begin your journey to a higher rating!

About the Author

About VA Claims Insider

VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

Related Articles

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Success Managers having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call