The term Buddy Statement may seem informal and of little significance. However, these supporting statements, called Buddy Statements by the VA, can play a large role in developing and validating an open VA disability claim.
What is a Buddy Statement?
A Buddy Statement is a letter of support from an individual with first hand knowledge of facts surrounding the veteran’s claim. This knowledge can come in many forms and may support or develop the claim in a variety of ways.
- knowledge of the injury itself
- knowledge of the veteran’s behaviors and capabilities before and/or after the injury/incident
- confirmation of date or location of unit or event
- corroborating details of a stressful event
- confirmation that a veteran was ‘engaged in combat’ in situations which are unclear
If a veteran has remained in contact with another service member, then obtaining a Buddy Statement may be as simple as asking. But, it isn’t often quite that easy. There are, however, lots of ways to locate and obtain Buddy Statements.
A Google search for veteran related sites will yield an assortment of websites dedicated to sharing veteran contact information. Search by name, service branch, location, or unit assignment. You can also try searching Facebook and LinkedIn for unit names, or names of ships. Very often, you will find that you are not alone in looking for fellow service members.
If a veteran’s claim is entirely dependent upon contact with the fellow service member, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, can assist with a free forwarding service.
If the person you are searching for is in active duty, you can contact the branch’s locator office, and they will offer assistance. However, in this instance, you’ll need to know some very specific details about the service member including: full name, date of birth, and social security number.
I have a Buddy Statement, now what?
You’ll want to submit your Buddy Statement in support of your open veterans disability claim. You can submit the statement either informally as a letter or via Form 21-4138 Statement in Support.
If you have questions, I would be happy to talk to you. Setting up a free veterans disability consultation is normally the best way to discuss those questions. If you would like to find out more about how a free consultation works and what you will learn, please take a look at this short article that explains it in more detail.
If you are ready to set up a consultation, just call us at (770) 214-8885 or just complete and submit this form.