FACTS – Military Sexual Trauma – MST – PTSD

MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA
Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non-taxable compensation, enrollment in the
VA health care system, a 10-point hiring preference for federal employment and other important benefits. Ask your VA
representative or Veterans Service Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver
Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors’ Benefits.
DISABILITY COMPENSATION FOR CONDITIONS RELATED TO
MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA (MST)
Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non-taxable compensation, enrollment in the VA health care system, a 10-point hiring preference for federal employment, and other important benefits. Ask your VA representative or Veterans Service
Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors Benefits. Some Veterans may have experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military. These kinds of experiences can affect Veterans’ mental and physical health, even many years later. Veterans can
apply for disability compensation for any current difficulties that are related to their service, including difficulties related to MST.

HOW DOES VA DEFINE MST?
MST is defined by Title 38 U.S. Code 1720D as “psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the Veteran was serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.” Sexual harassment is defined as “repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.”

ARE VETERANS GRANTED DISABILITY COMPENSATION FOR MST?
Veterans are not granted compensation for the traumatic event itself, but can be granted disability compensation for conditions that result from MST.  Compensation – April 2015
CAN YOU DEVELOP POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DIS ORDER (PTSD) OR OTHE R MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS AS A RESULT OF MST?
Yes. Exposure to any trauma can potentially result in PTSD or another mental health disorder. PTSD is the most common mental health diagnosis related to experiencing MST.
WHAT EVIDENCE CAN SU PPORT A DISABILITY C LAIM FOR PTSD AS A R ESULT OF MST?
Department of Defense forms used in reporting incidents of sexual assault or harassment, as well as investigative reports during military service are direct evidence to support these claims. However, VA knows that events involving sexual trauma are not always officially reported. Therefore, for PTSD claims related to MST VA has relaxed the evidentiary requirements and looks for “markers” (i.e., signs, events, or circumstances) that provide some indication that the traumatic event happened.
These include, but are not limited to:  Records from law enforcement authorities, rape crisis centers, mental health counseling centers, hospitals, or physicians Pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases Statements from family members, roommates, fellow Servicemembers, clergy members, or counselors Requests for transfer to another military duty assignment. Deterioration in work performance Substance abuse. Episodes of depression, panic attacks, or anxiety without an identifiable cause.  Unexplained economic or social behavioral changes Relationship issues, such as divorce Sexual dysfunction
VA RELAXED THE STAND ARDS OF EVIDENCE FOR COMBAT RELATED PTSD. ARE T HE STANDARDS OF EVIDENC E FOR MST – RELATED PTSD CLAIMS MORE STRINGENT THAN OTHER PTSD CLAIMS?
No. In fact, VA relaxed its evidentiary standard for disability claims related to MST in 2002 to ensure all available evidence supporting these claims is considered. Because military service records may lack corroborating evidence that a stressful event occurred, VA regulations make clear that evidence from non-military sources may be used to corroborate the Veteran’s account of the MST. Further, when direct evidence of an MST is not available, VA may request a medical opinion to consider a Veteran’s account and any “markers” to corroborate the occurrence of the MST event as related to current PTSD symptoms.

CAN PREVIOUSLY DENIE D MST RELATED P TSD DISABILITY CLAIM S BE RE – EVALUATED?
Yes. Increased awareness of MST issues resulted in special training beginning in December 2011 for all VA regional office personnel who process MST-related claims and the mental health clinicians conducting the examinations related to these claims. This ongoing training focuses on discovering “marker” evidence to support the claim. VA wants all Veterans who filed MST-related PTSD claims before December 2011 to receive the benefits of this nationwide training. If your claim was submitted before that date and denied, you can request a re-evaluation from your local VA regional office.
WHAT DO VETERANS NEE D TO DO TO GET A PRE VIOUSLY DENIED MST- RELATED PTSD DISABILITY CLAIM RE – EVALUATED?
Veterans who want VA to review their previously denied MST-related PTSD claim can start by contacting their regional office, calling 1-800-827-1000 or logging into their free eBenefits account at www.eBenefits.va.gov.
CAN VETERANS PROVIDE NEW INFORMATION FOR A RE-EVALUATION OF A PREVIOUSLY DENIED MSTRELATED PTSD DISABILITY CLAIM?
Yes. VBA will accept new evidence to be reviewed when a claim is re-evaluated. It’s best to send any new evidence at the same time as you request a re-evaluation. Veterans Service Organizations, as well as MST specialists and/or Women Veterans Coordinators available at every VA regional office, can help you determine what type of information is best to submit.
DO I NEED TO BE SERVICE CONNECTED FOR MY CONDITIONS RELATED TO MST TO GET TREATMENT?
No. VA provides free health care for physical and mental health conditions related to experiences of MST. No documentation of the MST experiences or disability compensation rating is required. Some Veterans may be able to receive this free MST-related health care even if they are not eligible for other VA care.
HOW CAN YOU APPLY FOR DISABILITY COMPENSATION?
You can apply for disability compensation by completing VA Form 21-526, Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension. You may also apply online at www.ebenefits.va.gov, or you can appoint an accredited Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to assist you. Male and female MST coordinators are available at every VA regional office to assist Veterans filing claims related to personal assault or MST. You can call 1-800-827-1000, and VA will put you in touch with an MST coordinator, or you can email the MST coordinator at your local regional office from the list of Compensation – April 2015 coordinators located at http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/mstcoordinators.asp . For informationabout MST-related treatment, visit ww.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp.

 

Overview

Female deep in thought.

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military. It includes any sexual activity in which one is involved against one’s will – he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities. Other experiences that fall into the category of MST include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; and/or threatening or unwelcome sexual advances.

Male deep in thought.Both women and men can experience MST during their service. All Veterans seen at Veterans Health Administration facilities are asked about experiences of sexual trauma because we know that any type of trauma can affect a person’s physical and mental health, even many years later. We also know that people can recover from trauma. VA has free services to help Veterans do this. You do not need to have a VA disability rating (i.e., “service connected”) to receive these services and may be able to receive services even if you are not eligible for other VA care. You do not need to have reported the incident(s) when they happened or have other documentation that they occurred.

This website has information about the health care services that VA has available for Veterans who experienced MST.  For information about VA disability compensation for conditions related to MST, please view this fact sheet about Disability Compensation for Personal Assault or Military Sexual Trauma.

TDIU Total Disability Individual Unemployability TDIU

Often the VA doesn’t understand how medical and psychological limitations affect a Veterans Employability or Individual Unemployability.

The VA’s ALJ’s are often making TDIU decisions based on limited information because the Veterans limitations are not addressed in Vocational Terms and so the Judges are trying to figure out how X relates to Unemployability. In order to meet TDIU Requirements, you really need a Vocational Expert to do a TDIU Evaluation.

Forensic Vocational Expert has the clinical knowledge and expertise to bridge the gap between a person’s medical & psychological limitations and how they will affect the persons employability, so that the VA Adjudicator will be informed as to how the medical and psychological limitations affect a person’s employability. This is how a person can get 100% disability due to TDIU.

Total Disability Individual Unemployability(TDIU)

A veteran is entitled to a 100% TDIU disability rating if he can establish that his service-connected disabilities preclude him from obtaining/maintaining- substantial gainful employment, Individual Unemployment

VA adjudicator must consider a report documenting the Veteran’s un-employability from a Vocational Expert.

Vocationl Expert TDIU Evaluation

SouthEast Vocational Experts: Leaders in TDIU Veterans Disability, Forensic Mental Health & Vocational Evaluations. We provide a Comprehensive Evaluation that will give the veteran Objective Medical Signs and Symptoms as required by the Code of Federal Regulations.

TDIU Vocational Evaluation

A Social & industrial survey (Special Vocational Evaluation) done by a Vocational Expert can be used as valuable evidence to support a veteran’s TDIU Claim, and help get Faster Decisions.

Many times the VA uses a Social Worker to fill a basic form out, but a Social Worker isn’t an Expert in Medical & Psychological issues in disability nor are they an Expert in Vocational Issues.  This is why you need this performed by a Vocational Expert to fully document your TDIU issues.

Vocationl Expert TDIU Evaluation

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Phone Number

Must have 70% service Connection for TDIU

Services Seeking-TDIU-Evaluations are Private pay and range from $800 to $1,500

Issues

Total Disability Individual Unemployability(TDIU) serviced in South east as well as TDIU Evaluations nationwide.

TDIU Requirements

VA Disability – Evaluation – TDIU

Forensic Vocational Expert has the clinical knowledge and expertise to bridge the gap between a person’s medical & psychological limitations and how they will affect the persons employability, so that the VA Adjudicator will be informed as to how the medical and psychological limitations affect a person’s employability.

A veteran is entitled to a 100% TDIU disability rating if he can establish that his service-connected disabilities preclude him from obtaining/maintaining- substantial gainful employment, Individual Unemployment

VA adjudicator must consider a report documenting the Veteran’s un-employability from a Vocational Expert.

Vocationl Expert TDIU Evaluation

SouthEast Vocational Experts: Leaders in TDIU Veterans Disability, Forensic Mental Health & Vocational Evaluations. We provide a Comprehensive Evaluation that will give the veteran Objective Medical Signs and Symptoms as required by the Code of Federal Regulations.

TDIU Vocational Evaluation

A Social & industrial survey (Special Vocational Evaluation) done by a Vocational Expert can be used as valuable evidence to support a veteran’s TDIU Claim, and help get Faster Decisions.

Many times the VA uses a Social Worker to fill a basic form out, but a Social Worker isn’t an Expert in Medical & Psychological issues in disability nor are they an Expert in Vocational Issues.  This is why you need this performed by a Vocational Expert to fully document your TDIU issues.

Vocationl Expert TDIU Evaluation

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Phone Number

Must have 70% service Connection for TDIU

Services Seeking-TDIU-Evaluations are Private pay and range from $800 to $1,500

Issues

Total Disability Individual Unemployability(TDIU) serviced in South east as well as nationwide.

GET TDIU for PTSD

The VA, Veterans Disability and what is needed to get a PTSD Disability Rating for VA Disability and TDIU:

In the past, the VA has maintained strict requirements for claiming PTSD disability but in recent years these have become less stringent. Since 2010, veterans are no longer required to prove that the PTSD-triggering event actually occurred. This applies to combat veterans and any veteran who experienced fear of hostile terrorist activity.

The way to create  A DIRECT SERVICE CONNECTION FOR PTSD, VETERANS MUST HAVE:

  • A current PTSD diagnosis
  • A statement about the event that caused their trauma
  • Consistency between the veteran’s statement and the conditions of their service
  • A medical opinion that the stressor had a sufficient enough impact on them to cause PTSD

We use Advance Forensic Mental Health Evaluations to give objective evidence of your PTSD and other Mental Health issues and are able to relate these issues and limitations in Vocational Terms. This is something other professionals can Doctors cannot do, and what the VA ALJ’s are trying to do in a vacuum unless you have a Vocational Expert outlining the issues in Vocational Terms.

you can also get PTSD from MST see: MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA (MST) AND PTSD

If you have a PTSD Rating and you are having problems Obtaining or Maintaining Employment due to your Service Connected Disabilities and the VA is not increasing your disability rating you should consider a TDIU Vocational Evaluation

 

See: TDIU Assessment Process

See: Why Us for PTSD TDIU Veterans Disability

We can provide PTSD evaluations, TDIU Evaluations, and Veteran Disability Evaluations nationally.

Social & Industrial Survey is one of the structured interview styles the VA wants to have done.

Atlanta, Georgia Veterans Disability

 

Don’t Let the VA Employees be the only one to decide a Veteran’s Employability.  There are some claims, a veteran establishes that he is unable to return to his former employment because of his service-connected disability.  However that is not the only issue involved in unemployability, the question then becomes whether the veteran has the education, work experience, transferrable skills and adequate physical or mental ability to secure and maintain Other Work. The VA often relies on their VA physicians or Social Workers’ to answer this question. But, in fact, vocational experts are the only ones who are qualified to provide an opinion on this issue.

Vocational experts can evaluate the opportunities in the contemporary labor market against the veteran’s peculiar circumstances, offering an opinion as to the veteran’s potential for obtaining another job.

When the VA obtains there opinion its often in a report known as Social & Industrial Survey , to support a veteran’s claim of unemployability due to service-connected disabilities. However, the person the VA has completing this form rarely had training, education, or experience in vocational issues, vocational limitations, nor medical and psychological aspects of disability.

The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) is a government run military benefit system that is responsible for administering programs for veterans’ benefits, their families, and survivors. VA regulations state that “all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a “substantial gainful occupation” by reason of a service-connected disability shall be rated totally disabled.” (38 C.F. R. Sect 4.16).

“Individual Unemployability” or IU is a way for the VA to compensate veterans at the 100 percent rate who are unable to work because of their service connected disability. This is the fasted-growing part of the disability compensation program.

Entitlement to TDIU requires evidence of unemployment due to the disability in question and medical evidence that a veteran’s service-connected disability renders him or her totally disabled and unemployable. A Vocational Expert report can assist in documenting Total Disability.

The recent US Court of Appeals case of Smith v. Shinski (No 2010-7145) using Social Security case law indicates the Veteran’s Administration does not have to use Vocational Experts in TDIU (Total Disability, Individual Unemployability) cases but that the VA adjudicator must consider a report documenting the Veteran’s unemployability. It is clear from this decision that the ultimate question is the employability of the Veteran, not the availability of jobs they can perform.

Specifically, 38 C.F.R. § 4.16 states in part, that if a veteran is unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities, he or she may be assigned a TDIU rating.  Of course there are other requirements for IU benefits, but even if those requirements are met, if a veteran is still able to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation, then IU will be denied.