How to Make a Military Sexual Assault Claim

0
159

Quite several veterans, both male and female, have faced sexual trauma while serving. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) calls this Military Sexual Trauma or MST. Although most sexual assault cases in the military aren’t reported, VA offers disability benefits to those who have experienced sexual trauma. MST can cause huge physical and psychological difficulties for the victim. That’s why you should file an MST claim to get compensated for the resulting damages. Keep reading to discover how to go about it.

What Is Considered Sexual Assault in the Military?

There’s often a special bond between people who serve. This explains why you never expect to be in any danger among your comrades, whether they’re your peers or superiors. Sexual assault in the military often feels like a betrayal. Victims feel helpless and frustrated, especially if they report and the people in charge don’t seem to act. The VA defines military sexual traumas as sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment. This included rape, sexual touches without consent, unwanted sexual advances, and being hazed sexually.

If you have experienced MST, you’re eligible for veterans’ disability compensation. However, you first need to file a claim. When doing so, hire a military sexual assault lawyer who will help you identify the evidence needed to prove you experienced sexual trauma and that your current condition is connected to the experience.

Evidence Needed to Make MST Claim

As the victim, you’ll need to prove the following things:

  • You experience sexual assault during your time in the military
  • You’re currently suffering from a mental or physical health condition related to the assault
  • You can link your current mental or physical condition to a sexual assault during your military time.

What Is the Impact of Military Sexual Trauma?

Military sexual trauma affects the victim’s mental and physical health during and after the assault. The survivors can experience mental health problems like depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction. Mental health professionals advise victims to undergo therapy or counseling after such an incident. Trying to ignore the issue only worsens your mental health.

Why Are MST Claims Difficult to Process?

Most sexual assaults happening in the military go unreported. According to the VA, for victims to receive disability benefits, they must prove they have a mental or physical condition linked to the sexual assault. Doing so can be tricky, which is why it’s best to hire a VA disability attorney who has handled such cases before. They’ll know what evidence is needed to link your current condition to the assault.

What if Your Claim Is Denied?

It can be traumatizing if the VA denies your claim. Often, you have no guarantee the VA will approve your claim. In fact, every year, they deny many MST claims because of a lack of evidence that the incident happened or led to a disabling medical condition. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced attorney, you can appeal that decision.

Why You Should Come Forward

It’s common for those who have experienced MST to ask themselves or get asked why they should come forward after several years. As mental health professionals explain, symptoms like PTSD can manifest later in life, disrupting your daily routine. Receiving benefits can help you get the necessary treatment. In addition, the increasing awareness of MST now makes it easier for vets to come forward.

Filing a military sexual assault claim is never easy. The logistical and emotional challenges you encounter are likely to derail the claim. A VA disability lawyer can help you understand the VA’s criteria for such issues and represent you, ensuring you get the benefits you deserve.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here