Treatment for Female Vets Lagging Behind
A new report released by the Disabled American Veterans reveals that female veterans are being seriously under served by the VA. There are serious gaps in service in all areas of the VA: health care, job training, housing, and social issues. Although the number of female veterans seeking health care in the VA system has doubled since 2000, 1 in 4 VA hospitals do not have a full-time gynecologist on staff.
The VA treatment of women veterans seeking compensation for problems stemming for sexual assault in the military is one of the major areas were the VA falls short of its mission. Many sexual assaults are not reported. VA regulations require the VA to inform the veteran that other evidence can be used to prove that the assault occurred. Many veterans do not know how to go about getting this evidence or how to properly present it to the VA. Even if the veteran gets such evidence and submits it, the VA will still often deny claims because the assault was not reported in service. The VA will try to use that fact that the assault was not reported as evidence that it did not happen. Recently, a Federal Appeals Court has held that the VA cannot do that. The VA cannot treat the lack of a report in service as evidence that the assault did not happen.
If a veteran, male or female, has a claim for compensation for sexual or other types of personal assault in service, it is important that the veteran have good representation. The veteran needs an advocate/attorney who is aware of the latest law in this area so the case can be properly presented to the VA, and if the claim is denied, can file an appeal and pursue the issue in Court, if necessary.