VA Disability Buddy Statements and how they can help your application or appeal.

Buddy Statements. What are they and how can you use them? My name is Lori Underwood with Woods and Woods,
and in this segment we're going to talk about Buddy Statement examples and how they can
benefit your Veterans Disability Compensation Claims. There are many ways in which you could use
a Buddy Statement to help you develop, either claims for service connection, or claims for
increased rating, or even to reopen claims. The VA will not seek out Buddy Statements
for you, but they are very useful tools that the VA will look at and consider as credible
evidence, if they're done in the right way. You can use Buddy Statements to supplement
medical evidence or supplement military service records that may be incomplete. You can use them to provide evidence, corroborating
evidence, for your claims. And as I said, the VA does consider Buddy
Statements credible evidence when they're done properly. They should be looked at by the Regional Office
and they are certainly considered by the Board of Veterans Appeals. How can they be done properly and how are
some ways that I can use them? To be done properly, a credible Buddy Statement
provider should be someone that has firsthand, personal knowledge of your claim. If it's a claim for increased rating, for
example, they should be someone who has firsthand personal knowledge of how your impairment
has worsened, that warrants an increased rating. If your claim is for service connection, the
Buddy Statement provider should have firsthand personal knowledge of how this claim is related
to service. If you're looking to supplement military records,
the Buddy Statement provider should have first hand personal knowledge of the claim you're
making, which occurred during military service. I'll expand a little bit on each of these
situations. But it does need to be noted that your Buddy
Statement provider cannot give a statement based solely on their belief. They have to be able to back it up with some
firsthand experiences. Let's say you're going to use a Buddy Statement
to help you reopen a claim, as in, you have previously filed a claim for service connection
for depression. I'm going to use that as an example. That claim was denied and now you'd like to
file a claim, again, for service connection for depression. You're going to need new and material evidence
to reopen that claim. There are a lot of ways in which you can provide
new and material evidence, but a Buddy Statement is one of them. How could you use a Buddy Statement under
this example to reopen your claim? Well, let's say that your claim is, your depression
began during service. Someone who knew you during service, before
service, during service and after service, would be a excellent person to provide a Buddy
Statement to explain how your mood changed from before service, during service, and after
service, and how they observed the onset of your depression during service. If the person can reduce these facts into
a statement from, their own firsthand personal knowledge, that can provide a great statement
to the VA and new and material evidence for reopening a claim for service connection for
depression. That's one way you could use a statement to
reopen a claim. Let's say you have a claim for increased rating
and this is now the same claim for depression. Your depression claim has been service connected
and now you need to increase the rating. How can you use a Buddy Statement to assist
you for increased rating claim? Well, you can get a statement from someone
who knows you and has observed your condition. In this case, we're using the example of depression. They have observed your condition worsen over
time. They have firsthand personal knowledge of
how your depression has worsened and can provide a statement explaining the worsening symptoms
they have observed within you and in your life. If this person can provide a firsthand account
of those symptoms and reduce it into a statement, that would be a great Buddy Statement to use
for an increased rating claim. I've used an example of depression, but this
can be done for any condition in which you're seeking a increased rating. Now let's use an example for missing service
treatment records or military records. A good example for this would be in trying
to prove a military sexual trauma. More often than not, service records do not
record military sexual traumas. This may be for a number of reasons, and one
of them is often because people do not report military sexual trauma for a lot of reasons. Just because there aren't military records
of this doesn't mean that you can't help prove your military sexual trauma with Buddy Statements. If you confided your trauma to someone, at
the time, that it occurred to you, a friend, a fellow service member, a family member,
someone who was close to you and had a firsthand personal account of you telling them about
your sexual trauma, at the time, that person would be a great person to give you a Buddy
Statement to corroborate your story of the military sexual trauma. You could reduce that person's statement into
writing, that would be the Buddy Statement. That person would need to have a firsthand
account of what you told them, at the time, and be able to corroborate your statement
of a military sexual trauma. These statements have been very useful and
very helpful for many veterans in showing the BVA that military sexual trauma did exist. That is just one example. A fellow service member who served alongside
you can corroborate your explanation of many things, including agent orange exposure, an
undocumented injury you sustained, and the list goes on and on. These Buddy Statements do not have to be on
any prescribed VA form. What they can be is just written out, or typed
out, by the provider, signed and dated, and I would include some contact information for
your provider as well, in case the VA wanted to contact your provider. Buddy Statements can be your best friend. If you have any questions about how to use
them or development of your VA claims, give us a call at the number listed below.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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