Lawsuit against VA alleges discrimination

On Behalf of | May 9, 2014 | Veterans' Issues

Veterans struggle with a variety of physical and mental impairments upon returning from military service, and many of these impairments remain with them for the rest of their lives. Conditions like post traumatic stress disorder, in particular, affect a large percentage of veterans, and it is important for such vets to receive the support they need to manage their condition while readapting to civilian life.

It is rather frustrating that vets with PTSD stemming from military sexual assault can sometimes have a difficult time obtaining the benefits they need. In fact, two veterans groups recently filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs, accusing the agency of discriminating against those vets who seeks benefits after having been sexually assaulted during service. 

In support of the allegation, the groups cite statistics showing that, between 2009 and 2012, the VA approved up to 30 percent fewer PTSD claims based on military sexual assault when compared to other PTSD claims. The VA disputes the allegations, and claims that it treats disability applications based on military sexual assault with the highest sensitivity. It will be interesting to see if the litigation affects the way the agency handles such claims.

Veterans can obtain disability benefits for PTSD not only through the VA, but possibly also through the Social Security Administration. To qualify for SSDI benefits, vets would have to fulfill the requirements of an entry in the agency’s official listing of impairments, specifically anxiety disorders. Another way to qualify is by obtaining a medical vocational allowance.

Vets who have questions about whether they might qualify for SSDI based on PTSD should contact an experienced SSDI attorney to have their case evaluated. 

Source: NBC News, “Vet Groups Claim VA Discriminates Against Rape Survivors,” Bill Briggs, April 30, 2014.