VA Benefits for PTSD Based on Military Sexual Trauma

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 19, 2021 – The United States Department for Veterans Affairs provides essential benefits for those who experience disability related to their service. Unfortunately, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is all too common among service members, and awareness surrounding this debilitating condition has only recently started to increase. Not only that but obtaining benefits for a PTSD diagnosis can be challenging due to the requirement that you prove the connection between the condition and your service. However, service members need to know that PTSD stemming from military sexual trauma is among the conditions that qualify for these benefits.

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term used to describe sexual assault or sexual harassment experienced during military service. While sexual assault is undoubtedly considered military sexual trauma, abuse or harassment does not need to rise to this level to cause long-term harm. Common examples of MST include pressuring someone into having sex, inappropriately touching another person, making unwanted sexual advances or threatening negative treatment if another person does perform sexual favors. The impact of MST on military personnel is profound and can lead to PTSD.

PTSD is a mental health disorder characterized by the following:

Disturbing memories
Depression and anxiety
Substance abuse
Feelings of hopelessness
Uncontrollable emotions
Feelings of isolation
Sleep disturbances

Those with PTSD can be “triggered” by thoughts or events that remind them of the underlying trauma. For example, being alone with a superior may result in a flashback to a prior instance of assault or abuse.

Unfortunately, many service members have had a difficult time obtaining benefits for MST-related conditions. To succeed in obtaining benefits, you must show:

1. You suffer from a current physical or mental condition that affects your body or mind;
2. The event leading to the condition occurred while you were serving in the military; and
3. There is a link between your condition and your military service.

The problem many service members face when seeking benefits after experiencing MST is that there is not a history of documentation. Often, service members are understandably hesitant to come forward with what happened to them for fear of retaliation. Thus, service members who are diagnosed with PTSD can submit proof of trauma through alternate means, such as by citing changes to their work performance around the time of the event, otherwise unexplained episodes of anxiety or depression, the sudden onset of panic attacks, issues of sexual dysfunction, marital problems, or statements from others whom they told about the event. In short, those who have a PTSD diagnosis can use additional types of corroborating evidence to prove their claim.

Florida Veterans’ benefits attorney David W. Magann explains, “Too often MST goes unreported. While more service members are starting to come forward, that wasn’t always the case. However, the fact that you did not officially report the abuse will not prevent you from obtaining Veterans’ benefits if you develop PTSD due to the abuse. Individuals who have PTSD due to MST can cite to almost any evidence indicating they experienced a sudden and otherwise unexplained life change to substantiate their claim.”

Attorney David Magann is a Florida Veterans’ benefits lawyer with extensive experience helping veterans, service members, and their family members obtain the benefits they are entitled to. Attorney Magann also helps veterans deal with the unique legal issues they face after leaving the service. As a proud Marine Corps veteran, attorney Magann has overcome many of those issues himself and takes pride in helping fellow veterans. Attorney Magann handles social security disability, estate planning, veterans’ law and personal injury law out of his Brandon and Tampa offices. He can be reached at

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548