In 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was not doing enough for its female veterans. GOA stated that the VA needed to pay more attention to the unique needs of women veterans, such as more privacy in hospitals and more knowledge of women’s health issues. The VA is now making several steps toward improving their services for women who have served, as well as for disabled female veterans.
The number of disabled female veterans has grown exponentially in recent years and that number is only expected to grow in the future. Currently, there are an estimated 1.6 million female veterans – some of whom suffer from combat-related physical injuries, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and sexual trauma.
What is the VA doing to improve their treatment of disabled female vets?
In July, Washington officials created the VA Task Force on Women Veterans – a group that is working to develop a comprehensive plan to tackle the key problems for women veterans today, including obstetric and gynecological care, childcare, military sexual trauma, homelessness, aging and end-of-life issues.
Already, the VA has begun to open Women’s Health Centers in various VA hospitals across the country – centers that take the special health concerns of women into consideration, such as pap smears, mammograms, and maternity issues. Unlike other VA hospitals, these new women’s centers have doctors who are familiar with the medical needs of women. In addition, the VA is also attempting to increase awareness of the challenges that disabled women veterans face, such as raising a family while struggling with physical limitations or mental illness. At the same time, several pilot programs are experimenting with new services that are aimed to help women vets, such as free child care services for veterans during their VA appointments.
Still, many agree that the VA has a long way to go before female veterans and disabled female veterans are receiving the care that they need and deserve.
Are you a woman and a veteran who is struggling to secure disability benefits? Talk to the Texas disability attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod today to schedule a free, private meeting to discuss your case.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.