MST Denied Claim Review Process

Chellie PingreeMST Denied Claim Review Process

Over the last 10 years, thousands of military sexual assault survivors who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and who submitted circumstantial evidence (secondary markers) of sexual assault or harassment, have seen their claims denied. While there has been increased attention to adjudicating these claims accurately, in a July 2012 Congressional hearing, the VA admitted that mistakes were made in its consideration of some of these claims and agreed to launch a review of denied MST-connected PTSD claims. In April 2013, some veterans who received denials for PTSD/MST service connection after 2009 were sent a letter offering to evaluate whether acceptable evidence was overlooked in reviewing their claim. While I am glad the VA will review these cases to give some veterans a second chance to receive the compensation they deserve, I don’t think the agency went far enough. I’m also disappointed with the lack of information and resources the VA has provided to veterans who could benefit from a review. I’ve put together a FAQ below to help you in the process. I’ve been proud to work on easing the evidence standards necessary for MST survivors to receive benefits, but in the meantime we should at least give veterans the fair consideration they’re due under the current rules. Best, Chellie Pingree

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