What is a buddy letter and why is it important?

The majority of veterans aren’t aware of how much of a difference a buddy letter could make in relation to your VA decision.
A buddy letter is a statement that is written in support of your claim by a competent adult who has the knowledge and likely witnessed an event or injury that is directed to your disability and supports your disability claim.

Who can write a Buddy letter?
The most important condition that determines who can write the buddy letter for you is that they must be individuals who witnessed an event or injury that could potentially support your claim, so the person who can write a buddy letter to you can be your fellow service member, friend, coworker, significant other and adult child, so basically anyone who has sufficient knowledge of what they are going to testify for.

What are the two types of buddy letters?
There are two types of buddy letters and the purpose that they serve depends on the individual writing them.
1- The first type of buddy letter is written by a coworker that was with you during your time in service and is an eyewitness of the event that caused your disability or aggravated your pre-existing disability, this person can fill the gaps that might be there due to lack of details in your medical records or lack of medical records altogether.
2- The second type of buddy letter is written by someone who knows you outside of the military who is usually a family member, this person can help by providing information on how your time in the military affect you and describing the impact that it made on you and also describe how your disability is affecting your life on a day-to-day basis.

Why submitting a buddy letter is important?
Sometimes veterans find out that some of their medical records are missing and find out that they were eliminated and sometimes the medical records don’t include all the relevant information that you need when filing your claim which can be a roadblock.
This is where the buddy letter comes into play, the VA is required to consider all the relevant information that supports your claim including a buddy letter which is considered as a “Statement in Support of Claim.” so the buddy letter can support your claim when your claim is lacking some evidence, so having a fellow service member write an eyewitness account on the event that caused your disability can serve as a powerful tool in your claim process because the VA is required to apply “the benefit of the doubt” when your claim is lacking when it comes to medical support.

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