Military Sexual Trauma – VA Disability Compensation
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), some Veterans may have experienced military sexual trauma (MST) while serving in the military. These experiences affect Veterans’ mental and physical health, even many years later. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, other mood disorders, and substance use disorders are associated with MST.
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VA defines MST as “psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the Veteran was serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.” And VA defines sexual harassment as “repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.”
Veterans filing a disability claim for a condition associated with MST often face a tough fight with VA because the evidence needed to win may be many years old, difficult to find, or sometimes nonexistent. In March 2016, VA improved evidentiary requirements associated with MST. The types of evidence VA may consider include, but are not limited to:
Free MST Treatment Available
Due to the increased awareness and advocacy by Veterans, VA now provides expanded and free medical care for MST survivors. That means that even while your VA claim is pending, you may be able to receive free care from VA for a condition associated with MST.
According to VA, Veterans who experienced MST have access to a wide range of services to assist them in their recovery. MST-related treatment is available at all VA medical facilities, and all treatment for physical and mental health conditions related to experiences of MST is provided free of charge. Veterans may be eligible for free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA services, and service connection (VA disability compensation) is not required.
No documentation of MST experiences is required to obtain free VA care. In addition, every VA healthcare system has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues at the facility and can help Veterans access relevant VA services and programs.
Disclaimer: This information is not legal advice. Using this information, understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created by reading or using the information on this website.