When it comes to rape and sexual assault in the military, it is hard to come by accurate numbers and statistics. No one knows how many incidents go unreported, while some reported incidents lack evidence or witnesses. One recent report from the VA found that 22 percent of women and one percent of men report sexual trauma during their service in the military – though some believe that the numbers are higher.
The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) states that one in three women are victims of sexual assault while in the military and that an estimated 68,000 veterans received medical treatment for sexual trauma in 2010 alone.
Can you receive veterans’ disability benefits for sexual trauma?
If you were a victim of a sexual assault or rape while serving in the military, and if that incident resulted in mental health issues or physical disabilities, you could be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. Many sexual trauma victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Many others could have suffered from other health issues in the wake of a sexual assault.
Some men and women find it difficult to secure a disability rating after sexual trauma because it can be difficult to prove that a sexual assault or rape occurred, due to a lack of evidence or a lack of reporting. However, the VA is actively improving the disability benefits claims process for those who have suffered sexual trauma in the military.
What kind of treatment is available for military sexual trauma victims?
The VA has spent the last few years making improvements to the services that they offer to men and women who were victims of sexual abuse or assault during their time in the military. Many VA counselors and claims processors have been trained to deal with these special issues, and many VA offices are now better equipped to handle the special health concerns of women.
If you need assistance regarding disability benefits for mental health issues stemming from military sexual trauma, please contact us today. The Texas veterans’ disability attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod have handled these sensitive cases in the past and are committed to helping our veterans secure the benefits they deserve.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.