Female Veterans and Disability Claims

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are set to end, more veterans will be seeking disability benefits for varying ailments. Some of those will be for physical ailments while others will be for mental issues such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is expected that more female veterans will be seeking such benefits.

Traditionally, women had considerable difficulty proving that they fit the qualifications for benefits. It used to be that soldiers had to prove that their injuries were directly related to combat (i.e. that they were in a combat zone when they were injured). Since women did not regularly serve in combat roles, it was believed that they could not have corresponding injuries.

However, traditional combat has changed and so have the different roles soldiers play. In fact, women regularly come under fire in areas that are not designated as combat zones. Also, the mental trauma that comes from being in hostile areas for extended periods of time is affecting more women.

Moreover, the rate of military sexual trauma (MST) and sexual harassment disproportionately affects women. These not only have physical implications, but mental consequences as well. Sexual trauma is a major factor in PTSD diagnoses, but it can be a challenge proving that the injury actually occurred, especially if the event was never reported (or proven).

Nevertheless, an experienced disability benefits attorney can help in the process. A lawyer has the expertise to put together relevant information to support a claim, including transfers, episodes of depression, substance abuse, and social behavior events, all of which ostensibly happen after a traumatic event.

Source: Tennessean.com, Female vets face unique disability challenges, April 13, 2013.