While the Department of Veterans Affairs provides critical resources to men and women who have suffered military sexual trauma (MST), obtaining disability benefits is rarely easy. Petitions are often rejected for minor errors, oversights, and omissions—forcing veterans into a frustrating process of hearings and appeals.
Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, has spent decades advocating for the rights of American heroes. We recognize that no words can fully capture the immense pain and suffering survivors of military sexual assault endure, but we hope our unwavering commitment to helping you secure the benefits and support you rightfully deserve can play a role in your healing journey.
The Challenges of Filing a Claim for MST Compensation
The Department of Veterans Affairs uses the term military sexual trauma, or MST, to refer to sexual assault and harassment experienced during the course of service. MST could include, but is not limited to, the following types of misconduct:
- Sexual assault
- Being pressured or coerced into sexual activities with the promise of promotion or threat of retaliation
- Inappropriate hazing activities
- Verbal harassment
The VA does not categorize MST as a distinct disability. However, it does award disability compensation for military sexual trauma-related health conditions. These conditions include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse
While the VA recognizes that many cases of sexual abuse and sexual assault are not immediately reported to any law enforcement authorities, they still expect petitioners to provide evidence of their condition and its service connection. Obviously, this poses obstacles to those who never kept detailed records or spoke to friends and family about what they experienced.
How Our Lawyer Can Help You Obtain VA Disability Benefits
When the Department of Veterans Affairs assesses petitions for MST-related claims, they inspect service records and medical reports for “markers” indicative of psychological stress and trauma. These markers can be substantiated by medical records, but they could also include testimony from the Veteran, their friends, or their family.
Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, could help you secure benefits by retrieving critical evidence, highlighting how an assault affected your life, and appealing unfair disability ratings.
Retrieving Critical Evidence
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not need unfettered access to your health history to adjudicate an MST-related claim. However, you could reinforce your petition by including records from:
- A rape crisis center
- A therapist
- A doctor’s office
If you reported the assault to military police or civilian law enforcement, we could use the initial investigative report to support your claim—even if charges were never filed or the perpetrator was acquitted.
Highlighting How an Assault Affected Your Life
Military sexual trauma can affect victims’ lives in a variety of ways. If you have struggled with substance abuse, insomnia, or difficulty finding or maintaining relationships, we could help you testify how an assault has impacted you and diminished your quality of life.
Additionally, the VA may consider statements from the following persons as evidence of how MST has affected your life:
- Fellow servicepeople
Appealing Unfair Disability Ratings
Sadly, the VA does not always provide disability ratings that truly reflect a veteran’s level of impairment. However, Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, always fights to ensure clients receive the compensation they deserve. We have helped clients rebuild their lives after experiencing military sexual assault, pushing—and succeeding—to obtain higher disability ratings for veterans who struggled to live stable lives in the aftermath of an assault.
Don’t Let Cost Concerns Keep You From Getting Help With Your VA Disability Claim
If you’re struggling to move forward with your life due to the lasting effects of MST, it’s understandable to be concerned about the cost of legal representation. However, we never charge an upfront fee to help our clients secure VA disability benefits. There is no charge for an initial consultation, and we only accept payment as a set percentage of any back pay or retroactive benefits you are awarded.