As readers know, life isn’t always easy for veterans who return from service. Oftentimes vets come back to civilian life with physical and/or mental wounds which interfere with their ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life. Vets and their advocates expect that the federal government will do its part to provide them with the benefits they need to integrate back into civilian life. Unfortunately, this just doesn’t always happen.
According to a lawsuit recently filed by two veterans groups—Service Women’s Action Network and Vietnam Veterans of America—the Veterans Administration routinely discriminates against vets who file for disability benefits for post traumatic stress disorder based on military sexual assault. In support of the allegation, the groups claim that PTSD claims based on military sexual assault were approved 30 percent less than other PTSD claims.
This disparity, according to the complaint, is a violation of the Fifth Amendment because it constitutes a form of discrimination. The Fifth Amendment, of course, is supposed to offer citizens equal protection under the law. It will be interesting to see how the suit proceeds and whether the VA changes its approach to such claims as a result.
Those who struggle with PTSD, for whatever reason, may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits. There are a couple ways to qualify: either by fulfilling the requirements of an entry in the agency’s official listing of impairments or by qualifying for a medical vocational allowance. Information can be found on the Social Security Administration website, or by contacting an experienced SSDI attorney.
Source: NBC News, “Vet Groups Claim VA Discriminates Against Rape Survivors,” Bill Briggs, April 30, 2014.