Veterans Disability Info Blog

Empowering MST Survivors: Navigating VA Disability Benefits with Confidence

Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, can result in a variety of mental health conditions with debilitating symptoms that can entitle a veteran to VA disability benefits including medical and mental health coverage in addition to tax-free disability payments. The amount you could be entitled to depends upon the MST VA rating you are assigned, which is determined by the evidence that you submit in support of your condition. 

To collect VA disability benefits for MST and related conditions, each of the following must be true:

  1. You have a current diagnosis for a condition, such as PTSD or depression as a result of MST
  2. Your current diagnosis is related to your qualifying active service in the U.S. military or covered organization 
  3. You’ve got the opinion of a medical professional linking your current diagnosis to your active service, or a primary condition related to your active service

When you meet these three requirements, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits, and to collect for your MST, you’ll need to submit sufficient evidence for approval. 

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Defined

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) notes that “Military sexual trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault or threatening sexual harassment experienced during military service.” While some might think that only women can experience MST, it is important to recognize that persons of all genders and backgrounds have experienced MST. The VA provides support to veterans who have suffered through MST during their service. If you receive a current diagnosis of an MST-related condition like PTSD, anxiety, or depression, and it is related to your active service, the VA covers treatment and in some instances payments to replace any impact on your earnings ability. 

If you have yet to file a VA disability application for your MST-related symptoms, there is free assistance available directly from the VA, or organizations that the VA can recommend to you. During the initial application stage an attorney or VA-accredited representative cannot provide you assistance for pay, and any companies offering to do so for payment or a portion of your benefits is likely a scam. To help guide your initial application, we’ve compiled some valuable information and free resources for you as we believe in MST survivors and helping to ensure they receive the VA benefits they deserve. 

VA-Provided Services for MST

There are a number of services available to veterans who experienced MST, and these are generally available immediately, prior to and during the application process. The purpose is to provide you with access to important and helpful treatment as soon as possible to help mitigate the impact of MST on your mental, physical, and occupational health. 

Following are the services the VA provides related to MST: 

  • Free treatment for any of the physical or mental health conditions related to your MST. It is important to know that you need not have reported the MST at the time, or have additional proof to receive care
  • Each VA medical facility has a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has a VHA MST coordinator, available to serve as a contact person for MST-related issues, helping you to coordinate access to care
  • Available services include psychological assessment and evaluation, individual and group psychotherapy for mental health conditions related to MST, medication evaluation and treatment, as well as treatment for physical health conditions related to MST 
  • MST-related outpatient counseling at community-based VA vet centers 
  • MST-related treatment through live-in VA residential or inpatient programs for persons who require more intensive treatment and support 

For these appointments, you are able to request to meet with a clinical of a certain gender should that make you more comfortable. While you might worry that you’ll have to repeat your story many times, that is not the case. When you are registering with the VA, you are not required to discuss or disclose the MST experience you went through. 

Eligibility for VA-Provided MST Services

The VA notes that MST-related services are available to veterans and many former Service members, including those who had received other than honorable discharge, or served for less than 2 years. This is distinct from other VA disability benefits, which require a discharge status other than dishonorable, and may have minimum service requirements or location-specific requirements. Standard length of service requirements that apply to other disabilities to not apply to eligibility for MST-related care, and service relation is not required. 

In addition to veterans with MST, former National Guard and Reserve members with federal active-service or a service-related disability with a discharge status under honorable conditions or an other than honorable discharge also qualify for coverage. Current service members may require a Defense Department referral to receive certain services. 

How Can Our VA Disability Benefits Law Firm Help? 

As noted, if you have suffered from MST, there are immediate mental health and medical benefits at your local VHA center through the VA MST coordinator. The VA center can also provide you with help with filing your initial application for VA disability benefits. At this stage free assistance is available, and if your initial application is denied and you need to appeal, or if you need to add your MST-related condition to your VA disability rating, our experienced VA disability lawyers can help. 

Connect with our VA Disability Law Firm to Support Your MST VA Rating

To discuss how we can help with your MST-related claim, reach out to us by phone at 888-878-9350, or visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation

We are Here to Help

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.