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Can I Receive Disability for Military Sexual Assault?

Can I Receive Disability for Military Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is a heinous crime that even those in the armed forces face. If you have experienced military sexual assault, you’re not alone.

There were nearly 9,000 reports of sexual assault across the U.S. Armed Forces in one recent year. Not only can you hold the assailant criminally responsible for sexual assault, but you can also request disability from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for your experience.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand how you can file a VA claim to receive disability for military sexual assault. You’ll also learn why you should hire a military sexual trauma lawyer at law firm like Berry Law to represent your claim.

Does the VA Accept Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Disability Claims?

The VA does accept disability claims relating to military sexual trauma (MST). If the MST claim details specific mental, physical, and emotional anguish inflicted by the assailant, the VA may grant the request.

However, there is a chance the VA could deny your claim, even if it’s backed by compelling evidence of your situation. In that case, it’s best to hire an attorney to represent your appeal.

At Berry Law, we aggressively defend warriors who are battling through MST. We’ll fight bravely by your side to build an effective claim to appeal your VA denial.

What are Examples of Military Sexual Assault?

MST can include a wide range of experiences, such as:

  • Being pressured to have sex.
  • Being physically forced to have sex.
  • Being uncomfortably touched in a sexual way.
  • Experiencing sexual contact while you were intoxicated or asleep.
  • Experiencing threatening sexual advancements.
  • Experiencing uncomfortable comments about your body or sexual preferences.

If you have experienced MST in any of these situations but your claim has been denied, our legal team can help you fight for the VA benefits you deserve.

When to File a Disability Claim for MST

The VA encourages Veterans and military personnel of all genders and backgrounds to submit a claim if the MST they’ve experienced led to both physical and mental issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Panic Attacks
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Substance Abuse 

You’ll need to provide direct or indirect evidence to support your claim. Credible evidence increases the likelihood that the VA will grant your claim in the first instance.

What MST Services Does the VA Provide?

If the VA accepts your disability claim, you may receive the following medical services at one of their facilities:

  • MST outpatient services, including psychological evaluation and medication treatment, as well as individual and group therapy sessions.
  • Outpatient counseling at one of the VA’s community centers.
  • Extensive medical treatment at both residential and inpatient VA centers.

As you can see, the VA offers a wide range of benefits for Veterans who’ve experienced MST. If your claim has been denied, consider filing a VA appeal to receive the benefits you deserve.

Hiring a lawyer to represent you during an appeal is the best way to receive the medical benefits you deserve.

How to File an MST Claim With the VA

The VA makes it simple to file an MST claim online. If you’ve already created a VA.gov account, please consider visiting this link to submit an online application.

You can also visit a regional VA office and file a claim with the help of a Veterans Benefits Administration MST outreach coordinator. Veterans can choose a male or female coordinator to ensure they are comfortable with submitting their claim. In addition to helping you file your claim, a coordinator can offer MST-related medical services and benefits.

How Long Do I Have to Wait for a Decision?

It takes the VA about 148.76 days to make a decision for a disability claim.

The time it takes to review your claim ultimately depends on these core factors:

  • The type of claim you filed.
  • How many injuries or disabilities you’ve claimed.
  • How complex your disability is. 
  • How long the VA takes to collect and evaluate evidence for your claim.

After you submit your application, all you need to do is wait. The VA will contact you if they need additional information and possibly schedule an evaluation. Fortunately, you can check the status of your claim online.

In general, the timeline for a basic VA disability claim is as follows:

  • Claim Received: You’ll receive an online or in-mail notification that your claim has been received by the VA.
  • Initial Review: The VA will begin reviewing your claim.
  • Evidence Gathering, Review, and Decision: During this step, the VA will ask for evidence to support your claim (from the military, healthcare providers, and more). The VA then reviews the evidence and makes a decision. Your application may revisit this phase if the VA requires more evidence.
  • Preparation for Notification: The VA will prepare your claim decision for mailing.
  • Completion: You’ll receive the decision in the mail within 7-10 business days of the previous notification.

What if My Claim Was Denied?

If your MST claim has been denied by the VA, you can file an appeal. The VA will revisit your claim, and you can submit more evidence to support it. However, if you’re worried about the appeal process or want to learn about different options, you should hire a lawyer.

A lawyer will help break down your options and determine if filing an appeal is feasible for you. If your claim has merit, a dedicated VA benefits attorney may help you file an appeal to receive full VA benefits.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

If you decide to file an appeal, hiring a VA disability lawyer will help maximize the chances of the best possible outcome. A skilled attorney has the resources to gather compelling evidence for your claim, interview witnesses, and present your appeal on your behalf.

They may also help you reach a settlement with the VA and receive the disability benefits you deserve.

Contact Berry Law to Discuss Your Appeal

Bringing a VA benefits appeal can be a difficult time for Veterans. However, you don’t have to go to battle alone. Berry Law has more than 50 years of experience successfully navigating Veterans’ disability claims.

If you’re ready to get started with the appeals process, give us a call at (888) 883-2483 to discuss your case.

John S. Berry, , Lawyer for 
Military Sexual Trauma
John S. Berry, , Military Sexual Trauma Attorney
Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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