Military Sexual Trauma

Jim,

Hello , I found your website and have som questions to ask. I am currently service connected for PTSD rape and sexual harrassment in the workplace and am going for an increase. I have not worked in 5 years. I had my compensation and pension examination and the doctor wrote a report showing reasons for increase. Do you have any words of advice for me? I think my file is supposed to go to the ratings board tomm. I am seeking 100% and if do not receive it will appeal. As said I am on SSDI and dhave not worked in 5 years. I have PTSD , Bi-polar and OCD and have Anorexia and Bulemia, OCD...I am a mess and my whole condition has worsened over the years. I am going to attach a recent letter I just sent to the VA for you!

Thanks for any advice you can provide...this whole process is scary and Im also worried...what if they decide to decrease instead of increase my rating..

Reply:

I'm sorry to hear that you're having to endure this. Military Sexual Trauma is a serious problem that is only recently being taken seriously by the commanders and leaders of our services.

It seems that your #1 concern will be that VA may reduce your current service connected disability rating. The chances of that happening are very slight indeed. Even if there were a proposal to reduce your rating, that is usually pretty simple to deal with. I wouldn't worry about that if I were you.

The letter that you attached to your email is very graphic and descriptive of your daily sufferings. That you titled it “I am in so much pain these days” indicates how troubling this is for you. (The letter is not for publication in Jim’s Mailbag as it is far too detailed.) You have documented the negative effects that the service connected MST has had on your life and that of your family.

I'm concerned that the letter is descriptive of your symptoms, it isn't specific enough to tell VA just what it is that you expect of their decision. I usually try to be very pointed in how I address the goal of any appeal by telling them my expectations of my future ratings.

If you have submitted a request for an increase to your rating via this letter, that's OK. The VA has a duty to assist you and any implied or inferred symptoms of your condition must be considered. If the adjudication/decision isn't just what you believe you deserve, then you will appeal.

While that is happening though, I'm concerned about your mental health and your overall well being for right now. I'm fortunate to have on my team a couple of women who are veterans and who have also suffered MST . They are available to email or call you to chat and to help you as you navigate the VA system. They will steer you in the direction of how to receive the best counseling available from your VA and they can tell you of many hidden benefits you might not hear about otherwise.

With your permission, I'd like to make an email introduction for you so that you have access to others who have been down this path before you. While the rating you receive is important, even more important is the state of your overall health and we must be sure that you’re getting all that’s available to you.