More Veterans who submit compensation claims based on sexual assaults during their military service are receiving benefits, the Department of Veteran Affairs says. Grant rates for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to sexual trauma have increased by about 22% since 2015. This year, the grant rate for conditions related to military sexual trauma (MST) is at 72%.
Processing claims for PTSD related to sexual trauma is particularly challenging because many sexual assaults are not reported when they happen. Additionally because of the personal and sensitive nature of the MST stressors it is often difficult for the veteran to report or document the event when it occurs. As a result, evidence is often unavailable.
With support for change coming from the Pentagon the VA is making a more concerted effort to compensate veterans for incidents of MST. “We’re treating military sexual trauma claims with a special emphasis,” said acting Under Secretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy. “We are allowing only experienced, highly trained Veteran Service Representatives and Rating Veterans Service Representatives to process these claims, then we are giving them enhanced training and performing special focused quality reviews.”