The VA is required to consider all relevant information that supports your VA disability claim. This includes eyewitness accounts of the cause of your disability and/or its effects on you. The Statement in Support of Claim, also referred to as a “buddy letter” or “lay evidence,” can provide powerful evidence supporting your case.
These personal statements can come from someone who served with you and witnessed the event, or from family and friends who are able to describe how the event has affected you.
Military buddy statements are particularly powerful if the person is able to give an eyewitness account of the events, conditions, or situation that caused your disability. Often, things happen while on duty that aren’t written up in a report but may have had a significant impact on you. Other times, records get lost or destroyed. If you have a friend or fellow service member who was there and can corroborate your statement, the VA is required to apply “benefit of the doubt” when your claim has limited medical support. Without a buddy statement, it would be less likely this benefit of the doubt would be applied or it would possibly be applied and a lower rating given.