Picture of Form 21-4138 being filled out

The VA form 21-4138 Lay Statement: What it is & how to write it

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is filled with confusing forms and processes including the VA form 21-4138 Lay statement. Many veterans are not sure how to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement, which is something the VA requires in order to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits. The good news is that the VA form 21-4138 lay statement isn’t difficult once you understand what it is. The bad news is that it’s another document that requires quite a bit of explanation. If you are thinking about applying for veteran benefits and want to know how to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement, keep reading. In this article, we will go over exactly what the lay statement is, who needs to write one and what exactly it should look like when finished.

This article is centralized on writing a 21-4138 for new VA claims.  For information on increase claims and how to use the 21-4138, click here.

What is a VA Form 21-4138 Lay Statement?

A VA form 21-4138 lay statement is another way of saying a VA form 21-4138 ‘explanation of circumstances lay statement’. This type of lay statement is used to describe four things:

  1. What are you filing for?
  2. What circumstances lead you to believe this should be service-connected?
  3. What are the symptoms you are currently experiencing?
  4. How do these symptoms affect you socially and occupationally?

The VA Form 21-4138 (Statement in Support of Claim) is used to explain what caused your disability. The reason for this is because many veterans mistakenly believe their discharge is a reason they can qualify for benefits. Although the discharge is used to determine your benefits, it is not the reason you can receive them. The VA form 21-4138 lay statement is one method the VA uses to determine whether your disability is service-connected. This means they use it to see if your disability is related to your military service.

Who Needs to Write a VA Form 21-4138?

Every veteran who is applying for disability benefits needs to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement. Disability compensation is not automatic for all veterans. In fact, only about one-third of veterans apply for it. The rest go without benefits because they don’t understand the process or how to write an effective VA form 21-4138 lay statement. The VA form 21-4138 lay statement is not difficult to write, but it does need to be thorough. It is your opportunity to tell the VA how your condition developed. The details of your lay statement affect how the VA determines if your disability is connected to your service. If you fail to state a clear explanation, the VA will deny your claim. If you are unsure how to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement, there are services available to help. These services are often free, and they can walk you through each part of the process.

How to Write the 21-4138 Lay Statement

There are several important things you need to keep in mind as you write the VA form 21-4138 lay statement. First, it needs to be thorough. The VA is not psychic and cannot see inside you. They need your help to understand your situation and how it affects you now. First, write down the disability you are attempting to claim, and ensure it is a diagnosed condition. This condition should somehow be associated to your service, whether direct or secondarily connected. Make sure you explain this in the second part. Next, write down all of your symptoms. Finally, summarize how these conditions and symptoms affect your life and work. After you have written down a clear explanation of your situation, use the VA form 21-4138 lay statement checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

It is key to also look up your condition on ecfr.gov to understand the symptoms and how they rate within the law.

Is a VA Form 21-4138 Lay Statement Required?

After you’ve written a VA form 21-4138 lay statement, you may be wondering if you really need to submit it. The good news is that you don’t have to submit your lay statement unless you have been asked to do so. This means if the VA doesn’t ask you to write a lay statement, it’s okay to leave it out. If they do ask, you will likely be asked to submit the lay statement within 30 days of receiving the request. The VA form 21-4138 lay statement is sometimes requested if there are issues with your claim. All of this said, you should ABSOLUTELY submit it. If nothing else, it does preserve an argument for your case in the event you have a Bad C&P Examination and are not provided disability for the condition.

Conclusion

Veterans who want to apply for VA disability benefits should and need to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement. This is a clear and concise explanation of your situation that helps the VA determine whether or not you qualify for benefits. If you are unsure how to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement, contact The Blue Cord Patriots, and they will be happy to help. You can also learn how to write a VA form 21-4138 lay statement by following these tips.

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