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Understanding the Different Types of Evidence Accepted by the
VA for Disability Claims

We strongly encourage you to send any information or evidence within 30 days of the application process. However, you have up to one year to submit the information and evidence necessary to support your claim. If the VA decides your claim before one year, you will still have the remainder of the one-year period to submit additional information or evidence necessary to support your claim. If you receive a letter from the VA requesting additional information using VA Form 21-4142(a), you can authorize the release of your private medical records from outside the VA medical network, if you believe the information will help support your claim. Talk to the Advocate before releasing any records to the VA

When it comes to filing a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), having a thorough understanding of the types of evidence they accept is crucial. While the VA does have a duty to assist veterans in gathering their records, it's important not to rely solely on them to collect the necessary documentation on your behalf. Taking an active role in compiling the right evidence can greatly enhance your chances of a successful outcome. Let's explore the different types of evidence accepted by the VA for disability claims.

Military Records: Your military records hold valuable information about your service and any incidents or injuries that occurred during that time. These records include service treatment records, personnel records, deployment records, and other relevant documents. They provide crucial details to establish the link between your disability and your military service.​

Medical Records: Medical evidence plays a central role in supporting your claim for a service-connected disability. This includes both military and civilian medical records. Submitting comprehensive medical records that outline your condition, diagnosis, treatment history, and relevant test results is essential. These records help establish the connection between your current disability and your time in service.

Lay Statements: Personal statements from yourself, family members, friends, or other individuals who have witnessed the impact of your disability can provide valuable insights. These statements should describe the onset and progression of your condition, how it affects your daily life, and any observed changes in your physical or mental health. They offer a unique perspective on your disability from those who know you best.

Buddy Statements: Buddy statements are written testimonies from individuals who served alongside you. These statements can provide firsthand accounts of events or circumstances that led to your disability. They offer additional support by corroborating your experiences and establishing a connection between your disability and your military service.

Expert Opinions: In certain cases, obtaining expert opinions can strengthen your claim. These opinions may come from medical professionals, specialists, or subject matter experts who can provide insights into the nature of your disability, its causes, and its impact on your daily life. Expert opinions offer an informed perspective that can further validate your claim.

Service Records and Awards: Official documentation and awards received during military service are significant. They provide evidence of your duties, responsibilities, and achievements, giving context to your service. These records support your claim by showcasing your commitment and dedication to your service.

Advocates Note:

It's important to remember that even if your military records are lost or unavailable, the VA still has a duty to assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim. While this may present a higher burden, the VA is obligated to explore alternative sources of evidence, such as buddy statements, secondary medical opinions, or other records that can substantiate your claim.


By actively participating in collecting and submitting the appropriate evidence, you enhance your chances of a successful outcome. Take the time to compile comprehensive documentation, including military and medical records, personal and buddy statements, expert opinions if applicable, and any other relevant supporting documents. Building a strong and well-supported case will greatly improve your chances of a favorable decision for your VA disability claim. Remember, your voice and the evidence you provide are instrumental in telling your story and advocating for the benefits you deserve.

The VA Disability Advocates Main Office is Located in Las Vegas, NV. We Represent Veterans throughout the United States. 702-209-5722 

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