Thanks to the #MeToo movement, American society has become much more comfortable talking about sexual harassment and sexual assault. The U.S. military has also taken these subjects seriously. Victims of sexual assault or harassing conduct can receive free care to deal with the fallout from this sexual trauma. In certain situations, you might also qualify for disability benefits.
Veterans Affair (VA) benefits are available for those who suffered sexual trauma in the military. The trauma can include repeated threatening sexual harassment or sexual assault like rape.
Apart from those requirements, VA puts few limitations on who can qualify. For example:
Furthermore, you do not need to disclose the identity of the perpetrator to receive this care from the VA.
You can receive care by contacting one of the following:
The free care program is distinct from the disability benefits program. However, it is possible that you might also qualify for monthly disability benefits if you suffered military sexual trauma. Benefits are not awarded for the sexual trauma itself but for any mental or physical suffering as a result of the trauma. For example, many service members who experience sexual trauma suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Unlike the free care described above, to qualify for benefits you must have suffered trauma while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
To qualify for benefits, you will need to introduce evidence to support your claim. Direct evidence such as contemporaneous reports of the assault or harassment are certainly helpful but not required. The VA has relaxed the evidentiary standards for military sexual trauma (MST) and will look for certain markers of harassment or assault, such as:
VA introduced the relaxed evidentiary standards in December 2011, so those who had their MST claims denied prior to that point can reapply. They may also introduce additional evidence as well.
The VA’s focus on sexual assault and harassment in the military is welcome news to the thousands who have suffered over the years. Fortunately, help is now available. If you think you might qualify for disability benefits, or if you have been denied, the Comerford Law Office can help. Schedule your free consultation by calling 312-863-8572.
Retroactive pay regarding the failure to account for all the veteran’s medical conditions.
Military Sexual Trauma case
Disability associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Retroactive pay regarding a PTSD misdiagnosis.
PTSD resulting in Unemployability
Traumatic brain injury case
Wrongfully denied SSA claim
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Non-presumptive cardiac impairment linked to Agent Orange
Agent Orange exposure case that led to Parkison’s disease.
ERISA long term disability benefits.