There are approximately 20 million veterans in the United States, and over two million are women. While their military service has been heroic and courageous, with some women achieving high-ranking positions, commanding ships, and receiving prestigious military awards, the contribution of servicewomen has often been often overlooked, if not completely ignored.
Additionally, female veterans have a variety of gender-related health concerns that often begin when they enter the military and continue when they return home. After leaving active duty, many are faced with mental health issues, some of which are seriously disabling. It’s possible for women veterans to obtain disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they can show that their mental health issues are service-connected.
Mental Health Challenges After Military Service
Dealing with post-military life is significantly different for women than for men for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Women who pursue a military career face a certain stigma—that they’re working in a man’s world and don’t belong. In general, servicewoman work in a male-dominated environment, and many feel their jobs demand extra toughness and require they withstand negative, invalidating, and dismissive comments, especially if they show exhaustion or pain. Many women who return from active duty not only feel they were disrespected and degraded during their time in the service and often treated as if they were “invisible,” but they also feel the American public doesn’t understand that they suffered emotional and physical scars that are challenging to deal with. These situations can create special mental health issues for women trying to re-integrate into their civilian lives.
- Servicewomen who are mothers face the same challenges as all working mothers—trying to maintain a balance between work and family. It’s often difficult for them to return home and re-establish relationships with their spouses and children. They often face social biases as well. Society is more accepting of men being away from their children than women, and women can feel less connected to their communities when they return stateside.
- Nearly one in four servicewomen report being sexually assaulted while in the military, and over half say they were harassed. Many female veterans who were sexually assaulted suffer from PTSD and military sexual trauma (MST).
All of these situations can make dealing with civilian life especially challenging for female veterans. Not only do they suffer from PTSD following their return home, they often face:
In 2017, according to the National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, the suicide rate was twice as high for servicewomen as it was for civilian women.
Contact Cuddigan Law
If you’re a female veteran seeking disability benefits from the VA for service-connected PTSD or other mental health issues, contact the legal team at Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have been supporting veterans for years, and we will help document your symptoms with your treating medical providers to describe the full extent of your limitations. We know exactly how much these disability benefits mean to you. If we accept your case, we will take all steps within the law to help you get them. If your mental health condition is making it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law at (402) 933-5405, to speak with an intake specialist for free.