For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, August 22, 2018 – American Veterans (AMVETS) is deeply troubled by a new report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General that shows the post-traumatic stress disorder claims of hundreds of military sexual trauma victims were improperly denied, leaving potentially thousands of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder without benefits.
“Sexual assault is a serious problem in our military, and AMVETS has led the effort to push our Congressional and military leaders to address this problem through changes to legislation and policy,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “But it adds insult to real injury when the problem carries over into postservice life. Veterans who were victimized while in uniform deserve better than to be re-victimized after leaving the military by a claims adjudication system that unfairly disregards their pain and suffering.”
The VA improperly adjudicated up to 1,300 sexual trauma claims in 2017 and failed to order medical exams needed to substantiate the consequences of sexual assault in more than half the cases, according to the report, which concludes that supervisors must conduct quality audits and properly train claims raters on how to handle complex, sensitive sexual assault claims.
“We expect the VA to be a part of the solution to trauma incurred in service,” Chenelly continued. “We anticipate that the new VA Secretary, Robert Wilkie, will do what’s necessary to ensure our veterans receive the justice they deserve, the justice that many of these men and women could not get while in uniform.”
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org