Veterans Services

Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

The report's key findings include:

  • VA granted disability benefit claims for PTSD related to MST at a significantly lower rate than claims for PTSD unrelated to MST every year from 2008 to 2012. The grant rate for MST-related PTSD claims has lagged behind the grant rate for other PTSD claims by between 16.5 and 29.6 percentage points every year.
  • For claims for disability benefits based on two other mental health disorders – major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified – there is minimal disparity between the rates at which VA granted MST-related claims and claims unrelated to MST.
  • Because female veterans' PTSD claims are more often based on MST-related PTSD than male veterans' PTSD claims, female veterans overall are disparately impacted by the lower grant rates for MST-related PTSD. For every year between 2008 and 2011, a gap of nearly ten percentage points separated the overall grant rate for PTSD claims brought by women and those brought by men.
  • Among those who file MST-related PTSD claims, male veterans face particularly low grant rates when compared to female veterans who file MST-related PTSD claims.
  • Treatment of MST-related PTSD claims varies widely from one VA regional office (VARO) to another. The VAROs that discriminated most egregiously in 2012 include those in St. Paul, MN; Detroit, MI; and St. Louis, MO.

Download the report and read more here.