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Disability benefits for victims of military sexual trauma

A military service person can expect to experience difficulties during his or her time of service. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one such effect, and it is often caused by combat-related events. Another type of trauma commonly experienced by military vets is known as military sexual trauma. Sufferers of military sexual trauma are eligible to receive disability benefits if their ability to work is affected by the occurrences. The psychiatric illness is widespread, and affects individuals from California and the entire United States.

An American Psychological Association study analyzed the experiences of two groups of female veterans, those who served prior to Sept. 11, 2001 and those who had served after. The group of individuals who served before 2001 experienced sexual contact against their will in nearly 50 percent of the cases. The post-911 group still experienced sexual assault 30 percent of the time. 

Some individuals begin to realize the negative effects of unwanted sexual contact many years later. When older women and men begin to transition into midlife, emotional issues can begin to resurface. Thanks to increased awareness of the issue, and additional training for Veterans Affairs employees, more individuals are granted disability benefits for military sexual trauma. 

In years past, unwanted sexual contact in the armed forces was a difficulty that went ignored and unreported. The data is now showing that trend to be turning around. In California, a person who has experienced unwanted sexual contact that has resulted in inability to work can be granted disability benefits. A person attempting to file for these benefits may wish to consult with an attorney for guidance on how to begin to receive them.

Source: californiahealthline.org, "Years After Silently Combating Sexual Trauma, Female Veterans Seek Help", Anna Casey, Sept. 29, 2017

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