From time to time I see that buddy letters are used to help develop the continuity and nexus of a claim. I also see recommendations for letters from a spouse, children or other family members. Does the VA really consider this strong probationer lay evidence?

I hadn't thought about having my wife write a letter, but if it will put another nail in the claim, maybe I should. Any thoughts or past experiences?

Happy Labor Day!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

3 answers to this question

I know I submitted a letter for my husband/ and him for me when we originally sent in our claim. On the VCAA paperwork we received it states "You may also send us your own statement, or statements from people who have witnessed how your claimed disabilities affect you. All statements submitted on your behalf should conclude with the following certification "I hereby certify that the information I have given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief".

After finding - I saw this written by a former rater and questioned whether we should have sent it in or not: This is nearly a no brainer but be honest. Don’t embellish your stories with fanciful tales. Just the facts please. Be able to document everything you tell the examiner. You may run into someone like me who checked stories out. If possible have letters from people you served with, unit diary copies of incidents that occurred during your time and space, and letters from family members. Family member letters usually don’t add a lot of weight to your case because families are there to support you and examiners understand that. Which can be found here:

I have also been reading several decisions of the CAVC and have seen letters from family members mentioned in several of the cases. It seems that family letters are used by the VA for or against the vet. Several of the decisions I was reading made statements such as "this symptom or this condition was not even mention by the spouse/family member in their letter". So if one is going to write one - make sure that every contention/symptom is covered.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got letters from my wife and brother. They were both used as evidence in my decision to get TDIU. A buddy letter is different since it puts you at a time and place in a combat zone perhaps.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, I feel dumb for not submitting one from my wife. I hadn't even thought about it until I was reading Asknod's book over the weekend. It was enlightening, and helped fill in some of the blanks that I had on how the process worked, including the spouse letter.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now





  • Topics

  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
    • Most Online

    Newest Member
    wife of a veteran
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Posts

    • I apologize Firewalker I Have to clarify my statements about about THE EVIDENCE  TO SHOW ON RECORDS Most survivors are very unlikely to have any documentation showing that the sexual assault or harassment occurred. There is a significant stigma against reporting such assaults, and because assaults are often are not reported right away, the military has often taken no disciplinary action at all against those who perpetrated these assaults. This often means there is no record at all of what happened. The VA understands this and does not require that service medical records contain proof of the assault or harassment. Other forms of proof of the incident(s) that will be accepted include: police records and/or records from rape crisis centers pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases statements from your friends in service, family members, counselors, or clergy, or journals or diaries that you kept at the time of the trauma. Proof of behavioral changes will also be accepted, such as: documentation that you requested a transfer evidence of a drug or alcohol problem changes in job performance and/or changes in your social or economic behavior for which there is no other explanation marital and/or sexual difficulties, or incidents of depression or anxiety for which no other cause has been identified. There's is no diagnoses for MST  VA says its an experience!   ..............................Buck    
    • you want to delete your previous post or the entire topic?
    • OK So I filed a NOD for an earlier effective date on the claim of my service related claim of Asthma.  I received a rating decision dated May 5, 2016, of established service connection for asthma from September 9. 2014. That was the date the VA received my claim.  This was a reopened claim.  Now they knew this.  I had forgotten that back in 1984 soon after I was discharged I had filed a claim for Bronchial Asthma and was denied in 1985.  I never appealed it, and there are far too many reason why to get into them at this point in time.  But this rating decision in May gave me 60% right after I had a C&P exam done.  I was rather surprised at the time how fast the claim was processed and approved which all the news about appeals and denials.  Before this approval reached me I was told to go on line and join ebenefits because it was the best way to communicate with the VA and if my claim was approve I would be able to enter my banking information thereby making it possible to receive my benefits electronically.  I did join ebenefits eventually found out that back in 1984 I had filed an initial claim for Bronchial Asthma it was denied in 1985. I had also signed the form for the DAV to represent me back then.  SO this is where my claim starts to get really screwed up.  In September of 2014 of course the VA didn’t know I had previously filed a claim for SR Bronchial Asthma, however by the time I was sent for the C&P exam they did know.  Yet at that time they still were not referring to this claim as my reopened claim.  Whenever I spoke with anyone regarding this claim it was always as if it was a new claim.  It wasn’t referred to as a reopened claim until my memory was refreshed when they FINALLY decided to grant me the privilege (what was actually my right and I to have to demand) of providing me with a copy of all my military files!! And at that point the Gig was up!!! Whereas the individual at the Boston VA office when I finally got through to someone there told me I should speak with my representative (For several weeks I had left messages at a number which stated it was the DAV Boston) I told Nicole, who also happen to have been the person who had scheduled that HORRIBLE PTSD/MST C&P exam and so conveniently did not send or provide all the statements in support of my claim to the examiner.  (NICE? Huh?) Anyway she told me I should be speaking with the DAV.  I told her that I had been trying to reach them for several weeks, that I had left messages everyday but never got a call back.  Nicole said she would make sure someone from the DAV called me.  Funny how within an hour I did hear from the DAV.  (Found out the Boston DAV is not only in the same building but on one of the same floors of the Boston Veterans Administration.)  (Anyone thinking conflict of interest here??? Because that is what I have begun to think) Anyway if I don’t watch it I will go off subject and never get out the questions I have.  So eventually I pushed for a 2nd PTSD C&P exam that was granted and in July I was awarded compensation at 100% which was a combined rating with the Asthma and the PTSD and the UE rating.  But I had also filed the NOD for a EED on the Asthma.  SO here is my first question.  I know when I filed my NOD that I asked for a person to person hearing.  I remember that being a choice and one that I did mark off.  So I was rather curious why I wouln’d be granted one?  I got the SOC on my NOD around the same time as the approval came and I called the DAV representative because there was a problem with the SOC and her attitude was really shocking to me and it really pissed me off to.  I mean she got pissed at me because I asked if there was anyway to talk to the individual who had done the review and written up the SOC, because it was wrong!! At first she said don’t make waves that I should just let it be!??  But as I read it over again I was like NO WAY!!!  This is WRONG!! SO I called her back and out right asked about speaking to the reviewer or possibly his supervisor?  That is when she got all pissy with me!!!  SO I sent her an email that basicly let her know that she hadn’t done any thing for me any way so what the hell I’ll come in to the Boston VA and ask to speak to someone there, myself.  She sent me an email back that basically indicated she was no longer going to represent me.  So I sent an email to the DAV main Boston Office asking them for the forms that I needed to get rid of them and find someone that actually wanted to represent me in this matter.  I ended up getting an email from the 2nd in charge who said they were still my reps and that he would handle my case.  Sounds good right??? NOPE it’s not.  He is every bit as evasive as the last person was.  The only reason the Boston VA issues a SSOC is because when it seemed after I was approved for the 100 percent the local VA was Fing with my case and no mater how many forms I gave them they kept pushing back the date that they would settle and send out the notification letter then start at least paying me the 100% monthly amount. The first date was the end of June then July some time, then the end of July then August, until it got moved all the way back to January 2017.  So I had enough and wrote an email to Secretary McDonald.  And believe it or not I got a response back from so one in Washington out of his office who said someone would contact me.  A week later the 2nd in charge of the Boston VA called me and we had a long talk.  He got the problem with the benefit taken care of like he said he would and I got the retroactive and pay by July.  He also said he would talk to the people in the review office about what I saw as an error and he would have them take care of it.  Unfortunately he was transferred before they took care of the whole issue so only part of that was taken care of.  Hence the SSOC was issued.  But it was issued on the same date that my appeal was certified and sent to the BVA.  So my 2nd question I have is this. Does anyone know if my case could have been settled on a local level had I not filed the Form 9 if I have officially reopened the case instead of continuing on with what appears to be a new case filed in 2014?   And my 3rd Question is, what exactly is a medical Nexus???   See I thought that was a connection between the in service condition and the current disability???  So below is a statement made by the VA Doctor who performed the last C&P exam that was requested by the individual who did the review and this Doctor I believe absolutely creates this so called Nexus!!  SO if he has why didn’t they settle it and why would they deny their own Nexus???  Oh and part of this is the problem I found where there is a typo that the person who transcribed the Doctors notes left out ONE word in a sentence.  However it is a vital word for the sentence and the whole paragraph to make sense.  To date it still is NOT fixed!!!  Tell me if you catch it.  The word that is left out is “NOT”.    SO the following is the VA doctors report PLEASE give an opinion or suggestion!!  I think I am about to go MAD!!!  Aileen M Dodge       ACE and Evidence Review     -----------------------     Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document:       [X] Review of available records (without in-person or video telehealth examination) using the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) process because the existing medical evidence provided sufficient information on which to prepare the DBQ and such an examination will likely provide no additional         relevant evidence.     Evidence Review     Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):     [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA)     MEDICAL OPINION SUMMARY     RESTATEMENT OF REQUESTED OPINION: a.       Opinion from general remarks:   Active duty service dates:        Branch: Navy     EOD: 03/30/1980     RAD: 03/30/1984     Branch: Marine Corps     EOD: 03/07/1978     RAD: 03/24/1978     OPINION: Direct service connection     Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of   (a) asthma that is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by (the) respiratory complaints during service?     POTENTIALLY RELEVANT EVIDENCE:     Tab TAB A (Veteran's statement in VBMS): Veteran's application for service connection dated 09/09/2014     Tab TAB E (STRs in VBMS): service treatment records show respiratory complaints to include bronchitis and asthma dated 01/16/2015     Tab TAB B (Outpatient treatment records in VBMS): VA respiratory DBQ dated   04/18/2015     Tab TABS F-K (Private treatment record in VBMS): Multiple records from     Beverly Hospital showing treatment for respiratory condition dated 04/25/2015     Tab TAB C (Outpatient treatment records in VBMS): VA pulmonary function test  dated 05/04/2015     Tab TAB D (Veteran's statement in VBMS): Veteran's statement dated 06/10/2016     b. Indicate type of exam for which opinion has been requested: respiratory     TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION PROVIDED: [ MEDICAL OPINION FOR DIRECT SERVICE     CONNECTION ]     a. The condition claimed was at least as likely as not (50% or greater  probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in-service injury, event or illness.       c. Rationale: I have reviewed all relevant documentation in the claims file, with particular attention to the documents cited in the 2507 and tabbed. The  period of service that seems relevant to this opinion is that of the  veteran's second enlistment, from 1980 to 1984. Her enlistment examination dated 11JAN1980 makes no note of respiratory disease. In her separation examination dated 20MAR1984, veteran reports having asthma and shortness of breath.  In the interval, the veteran compiled a substantial record of  respiaratory signs and symptoms, beginning May 1980 and intensifying during     June 1980. She was variously given diagnoses of asthma or bronchitis, and treated for both. Wheezing was heard on physical examination more than once. Chest radiographs were non-diagnostic, and were normal at time of separation.     Pulmonary function testing was abnormal as early as 06/26/1980, with marked  reductions of FEV1 and peak flow, both minimally responsive or unresponsive  to inhaled bronchodilator. By 2013, her pulmonary function had deteriorated  even farther, and chest imaging showed transient ground-glass opacities.  Pulmonary function testing at VA Boston in 2015 showed additional  deterioration, with no response to inhaled bronchodilator (I cannot determine  whether she was already maximally bronchodilated from medication).     This veteran has a pulmonary disorder characterized by asthma-like symptoms and by moderately severe airflow limitation with inconsistent response to  bronchodilator. The correct diagnosis may not be asthma, but as a working  diagnosis asthma is adequate. It is clear that the veteran's condition began shortly after her re-enlistment in 1980, and has worsened since then. The condition was noted on her entrance examination. In my opinion, this veteran  has asthma or a similar chronic respiratory disorder that more likely than not was incurred in her military service from 1980 to 1984.     *************************************************************************  
    • So you got service connected for it, that is good right?  I am totally confused now. 
    • Good question Buck. I ask myself that alot. WHY was I arrested at the scene? FUBAR!!! Assault and Battery I believe. I was covered in blood......and the assailant was too....I fought for my LIFE! He was trying to kill me...That's what people never talk about with rape and I dont get rape experience was extremely violent and rageful,......Granted he wasnt as messed up as I was, but I guess they just wanted to remove us from the scene in the barracks and then question us separately. When they arrived I definitely was not hysterical...I was totally depleted...couldnt even speak....utterly exhausted....could barely walk...they cuffed us both and took us away in 2 separate vehicles and I have no idea what happened after that. I dont remember going to the hospital or talking with the MP's or anything....I remember being sent back to Ft. Hood and what transpired later. At the time I was traveling in a performing show....Army Soldiers Show and we were going to many different bases up and down the east coast at the time. I believe I was in Ft. Belvoir, VA but Im not sure...some base in Virginia...I remember seeing boats...Anyway.....the assailant was a 'friend' and castmember of the show. The whole think was a scene from a David Lynch film...Firewalk With Me...bizarre! My disgust with this examiner is her repeated attempts at negating the event EVER EVEN HAPPENED!!!....  : The veteran reported that she was raped (see statement for details) and that it was reported during service. There were no records found in VBMS.   then  she does it again....  . There is no significant evidence of a military sexual trauma.  She then goes on to contradict herself....  Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military): a. Stressor #1: Rape in 1989 Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes ... Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the stressor. there are no markers of the assault ....infuriating!!  By definition...markers are the weakest form of residuals.... Therefore, for PTSD claims relatedtoMST VA has relaxed the evidentiary requirements and looks for “markers” (i.e., signs, events, or circumstances) that provide some indication that the traumatic event happened. These include, but are not limited to: • Records from law enforcement authorities, rape crisis centers, mental health counseling centers, hospitals, or physicians • Pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases • Statements from family members, roommates, fellow Servicemembers, clergy members, or counselors • Requests for transfer to another military duty assignment • Deterioration in work performance • Substance abuse • Episodes of depression, panic attacks, or anxiety without an identifiable cause • Unexplained economic or social behavioral changes • Relationship issues, such as divorce • Sexual dysfunction After reading her statements I really wanted to get a thick lead pipe and do to her what was done to me....then when I was finished with her I'd tell her it was all in her never really happened....condascending _unt....she would have never survived  Im so angry I have to stop.... Anyway, I did get a rating of 50% for PTSD/MST 10 days later despite this examiner's ineptitude.  I really feel like she needs to be held accountable for all the horrible things she said and her assumptions and insinuations after skimming over my life. Disgusting POS I filed my NOD 4 months after the decision and now my appeal is at the DRO's office awaiting a decision.