Veterans Disability Info Blog

VA Service Connection for PTSD from MST

MST, or military sexual trauma, is a leading cause of substantial mental health and physical conditions and can result in long-term and life-altering impacts on the victim’s ability to engage in social and professional life. To collect VA disability benefits including medical and mental health coverage, and potential monthly tax-free monthly VA disability payments, you must prove that your PTSD from MST is service-related. This means that your military sexual trauma must stem from an event experienced while on qualifying active duty. 

When veterans experience an event, illness, or injury during qualifying active duty that results in a current diagnosis for a condition, they are generally eligible to receive medical and mental health coverage from the VA. If their condition impacts their ability to work, they may also qualify for monthly payments.

The process of applying for VA benefits is complex and can be confusing, especially if you are filing an initial application without assistance, which can be received for free from the VA. If you fail to provide sufficient evidence with your application, your claim will be denied, but you have a right to appeal. A VA disability lawyer from our firm can help you with your appeal, or if you already have a VA disability rating for a different condition but need to add PTSD for MST, then we can help with that as well. A successful appeal results in your receiving compensation back-dated to the initial time of your filing, which can result in substantial amounts. 

Veterans suffering from PTSD due to MST can take advantage of extensive health care and financial benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), extending beyond medical and mental health coverage. While it can be a difficult and time-consuming process to collect MST disability benefits, it is possible. 

To collect VA disability compensation for your MST, you must have the following: 

  • A current diagnosis for a condition 
  • The condition you are diagnosed with is the result of MST that occurred during qualifying active service in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have a medical option and additional evidence that links your current diagnosis to the MST that you experienced during active military service 

It is important to note that your discharge status must be other than dishonorable to qualify for VA benefits. The compensation you are entitled to is not automatic; instead, you must submit the necessary evidence for the VA to approve your disability application and assign you an accurate MST VA rating. A part of the application process generally includes examinations, the collection of evidence, and the completion of the various portions of your application. Any necessary appeals must be completed within specific timelines, or you could risk sacrificing your rights. 

Following is some valuable information to help you support the success of your VA disability application and your eligibility to receive benefits. 

What is Military Sexual Assault (MST)? 

The VA defines MST as psychological trauma that is the result of the following: 

  • A physical assault that is sexual in nature 
  • Battery or unwanted touching of a sexual nature 
  • Sexual harassment and offensive sexual remarks 
  • Unwelcome touching, including unwanted sexual advances 

MST goes beyond sexual assault and includes sexual harassment which the VA defines as “repeated, unsolicited verbal contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.” Unwelcome sexual activity can fall under the definition of MST, which includes:

  • Being compelled through physical force to engage in a sexual act
  • Any situation where a service member is subject to sexual activity when unable to consent, including by reason of intoxication 
  • Engaging in sexual activity as a result of the threat of negative consequences in the workplace or due to the promise of beneficial treatment 

Covered MST is any that occurs during qualifying service, including active duty, active duty training, inactive duty training, and when engaged in service-related activities, even when off base or off duty. 

MST Statistics in the U.S.

While you would hope that the U.S. military is free of high levels of sexual assault and related trauma, that is not the case. In fact, the US military is well-known for its high rates of MST and low levels of reporting, which indicates that the problem is even worse than reported. In 2014, there were some 10,400 men and 8,500 women on active duty who reported having experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact. It is known that these numbers are in fact much higher, as research has found that some 81% of men and 67% of women who suffer through MST do not report it. 

Service members have noted that they do not report experiences of MST out of fear of retaliation, ostracization, or the potential of further abuse. Such experiences can result in long-term, life-altering mental health consequences for the victim, including PTSD, depression, or anxiety. If you have a current diagnosis for these or other mental health conditions linked to your service-related MST, you are eligible to receive an MST VA rating and to receive the related compensation linked to your percentage rating.

The success of your initial application, appeal, or supplemental claim is supported by the evidence you submit. It is helpful to document the symptoms of your MST that you experience, including the impact they have on your day-to-day life and ability to work. You are able to submit statements from friends, family, coworkers, and fellow service members with your VA paperwork to further support your approval. 

Support an Accurate MST VA Rating for Your VA Appeal with Our Veterans Disability Benefits Law Firm

As noted, free assistance is available with your initial consultation, and the VA can provide this assistance or refer you to organizations that can provide it. If your initial PTSD for MST claim is denied, a veterans disability attorney can help. Our experienced VA benefits lawyers are standing by to help with your appeal or supplemental claim. Reach out 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.