From the time you stepped out of the service, all you carried behind you, aside from badges and honors, were fond memories spent inside the armed forces. These memories genuinely make a veteran’s stay in the service worth reminiscing. But several years later, these memories can turn into robust evidence that would lead you to boost your benefits – and that’s the time you need to call your long-time buddy.

Veterans applying for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs in the US must provide evidence that their injury or sickness is related to their time served in the armed forces. Buddy statements are a significant piece of documentation that can be acquired by veterans battling for service connection or a higher rating. Buddy statements, also known as buddy letters, are documents that can provide first-hand information on the occurrence that led to the disability, including the nature of the condition itself. When applying for VA disability benefits, a veteran may find that a strong statement from a buddy is essential. 

Senior Chief Weiller of Coast Guard Activities New York and Kashim Valles, 10, of P.S. 86 in Queens, visit with U.S. Army Veteran Holybrokh Murdaugh at the 23rd Street Veterans Medical Center. (Source: Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Sperduto, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

What Should a ‘Buddy Statement’ Focus On?

For buddy statements to be powerful, they need to concentrate on particular areas. If your buddy statement is strong, there is a greater chance that you will earn the rating you require. The real substance of the statement should center on the matter that the veteran is attempting to establish, whether that be the occurrence that caused the veteran’s condition, the presence of the impairment, or the degree of the disability, among others. This calls for every veteran to be clear on the statement’s goal – one of the focuses is asking the right people for the account to strengthen the claims.

Digging deep into the ‘Buddy Statement.’

It is common practice for the veteran’s spouse, other family members, friends, or even fellow service members to write the buddy statement. They furnish essential evidence that substantiates or lends credence to the veteran’s claims. These declarations may greatly assist when documents are misplaced, destroyed, discarded, or never kept. But why would someone with military experience require buddy statements? Per the report, there is a widespread notion that military record-keeping is flawless and that every event that has ever occurred on service is logged and adequately documented. This is a common myth. People tend to be “biased” towards historical records due to several variables, the most notable of which is the availability bias. According to the report, “Availability bias is the belief that the available evidence is representative of the phenomenon being observed.” This bias can cause people to assume that a veteran never engaged in a mission if it is not recorded in the veteran’s records, even if the veteran did participate.