Buddy Letters

Question:

I have recently readied a stack of buddy letters to be submitted to the VA for PTSD . Unfortunately the buddy letters are quite incorrect with some of the information being supplied. Dates are wrong and events are in reverse which makes a huge difference. Along with some of it being hearsay from others. Should this be addressed to the VA?

Jim's Reply:

 

A Statement In Support Of Claim, often called a 'buddy letter', is a statement by a knowledgeable witness to an event or events that may not have otherwise been recorded in official records.

For example, the soldier may have been in an area that was attacked by mortar fire but his actions involving his wounded and killed companions may not have been properly noted thus his subsequent PTSD is more challenging to prove. A statement from one or more reliable witnesses who were there may be a big help to such a claim. 

Buddy statements aren't so much help when the buddy opines to a degree that he isn't qualified to do, providing an opinion of a medical issue that the veteran isn't properly credentialed to do...a medical diagnosis for example or if the buddy isn't such a reliable witness and contributes little.

As an advocate I'm very cautious about recommending buddy statements...I rarely recommend using a buddy letter. VA is picky about who they will accept the statement from and all too often, the statements you provide are rejected for various reasons. A poorly crafted buddy letter is a waste of everyone's time and makes you look desperate. Buddy letters from your spouse and your mom and dad rarely help...what are they going to say but to support you?

What I hear you telling me is that the buddy statements you've solicited are "quite incorrect" and "dates are wrong", "events are in reverse", and "some of it just being hearsay" and you're asking me if you should go ahead and use these but inform VA of all the above?

No. 

Good luck.