Veterans always ask us “What’s the best way to win a claim?” The answer we often say is evidence. Often times that evidence is some sort of medical record or admin record from your claim file. However, those aren’t the only things you can submit to the VA. One tool that is often underused by Veterans is a Statement in Support of Claim. This blog will examine how the Statement in Support of Claim can help you win your case.
Statements can be used in a wide variety of situations. Let’s say the VA needs more evidence, and your medical records just aren’t enough to prove your condition. A Statement in Support of Claim may help prove your injury. We often find that this is helpful in situations with mental disabilities, like PTSD. In these cases, a statement may help prove your stressor. This can be done by describing a specific incident in detail, or describing the problems you are having as a result of the incident. The important thing in this situation is to be very detailed. A one line response is not likely going to get a better result.
Another thing we want to point out is that Statements do not have to be solely written by you. In fact, when it comes to physical injuries, “Buddy Statements” can be used to help prove an injury. For example, if you fell while serving and hurt your back, your testimony and medical evidence may not be enough to prove your case. However, it is rare for these incidents to happen when soldiers are by themselves. Chances are you were hurt in front of another soldier. Those who served, for the most part, stay connected with their fellow soldiers. Contact your buddy and see if he remembers the incident. If so, he can write a statement describing what happened in detail.
When it comes to buddy statements, some Vets worry that their friends will be called in to testify during their hearings, and they don’t want to bother them. Keep in mind; VA claims are nothing like what you see on Law & Order. It’s nowhere near as glamorous. Often times after a buddy statement is submitted, that’s all your fellow Vet has to do.
Most of our younger clients don’t have any issues contacting those they have served with in the past. However, some of our older clients have lost contact with those they served with in the military. We have a few suggestions. For one, use a social media service like Facebook. It seems as if everyone uses it now and you can find people on there very easily. Also, try doing an internet search for your former unit or even the ship you were on. (If you served on a ship.) Units like this will often have reunions and other types of gatherings in which you can reconnect with those who served with you.