Tell Your Story

Sometimes, all the medical records in the world are not enough to get your claim granted. It is important to always include a statement that tells your story, from your perspective.

Service Connection Claims

If you are applying for service connection, make sure to include the following in your statement:

  • What happened in service? Try to describe exactly what you remember, including what you saw, who was there, and how things felt.
  • How did the condition progress during service? Talk about how your condition felt, even if you didn’t seek medical attention.
  • Why do you think your current symptoms are related to what happened in service? Have symptoms continued since service?

In most cases, VA will still have to get a medical professional’s opinion to determine whether your condition is related to service, but this statement can give important guidance to that person.

Increased Rating Claims

If you’re applying for an increased rating, make sure to include the following in your statement:

  • What are your symptoms like right now?
  • How often do you experience these symptoms?
  • How do these symptoms affect your ability to live your normal life, including work and social life?
  • How long have your symptoms been this severe?

Buddy Statements

Statements from your friends and family are also helpful, if they have witnessed something that could help your claim. It is always more helpful to have someone write about something they witnessed firsthand, rather than what someone else told them.

Helpful buddy statements can include the following:

  • Tell the story of an in-service event from their perspective
  • Discuss any symptoms they remember you having during or shortly after service
  • Discuss any symptoms they have seen you have recently

To send these to the VA, you can include them on a Statement in Support of your claim, or mail a letter to the VA that includes your name and claim number.