VA Offers Assistance for Women Suffering Trauma and PTSD

Accredited attorneys help female vets qualify for disability benefits

Women are a large and growing portion of the U.S. Armed Forces and the veteran community. The latest figures show that there are more than 200,000 women in active-duty service among the branches and nearly 2 million women veterans.  The prevalence of women at or close to the front lines has led the VA to question whether its outreach, treatment and assistance are adequate for their needs. One area of focus has been trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in female veterans. Because we at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban want every veteran to access the VA benefits they deserve, we offer this information on women and PTSD.

Traumatic stress in female veterans

Trauma and PTSD are not uniquely service-related conditions for men or women. Civilians can experience trauma from a severe car accident, a physical or sexual assault, a fire, or any number of events that arouse great fear, helplessness, or sorrow. Across the population, women are less likely to experience trauma than men, but about half of all women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Military service exposes women to specific stressors, which include:

  • Combat missions — Military women often serve in combat or combat-support positions that expose them to hostile fire and the sights and sounds of battle.
  • Sexual assault — The term military sexual trauma encompasses unwanted exposure in the military to conditions of a sexual nature, such as degrading comments, advances, sexual assault, and rape.
  • Isolation — Feeling alone within a new unit without familiar comrades can worsen any feelings of stress a service member is already feeling.
  • Worries about family — Women with young children or elderly parents face emotional challenges during deployment that their male counterparts are unlikely to experience in the same way.

The VA estimates that about 20 percent of female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD from severe trauma and/or persistent stress. Men and women experience many of the same symptoms: hyperarousal, re-experiencing, avoidance, and numbing. But women are more likely to be skittish, to be numb to their emotions, and to avoid anything or anyone that reminds them of the traumatic event. Women are also more likely to suffer depression.

VA Programs are available for women with PTSD

The VA offers a variety of mental health services for women with PTSD:

  • Women's Stress Disorder Treatment Teams — These outpatient programs focus on treatment of PTSD and other problems related to trauma.
  • Specialized inpatient/residential programs for women — Female veterans who need more intense treatment and support can live in the hospital or in a residence with other women.
  • Cohort treatment — These live-in programs accept both men and women but usually have a space set apart for women.
  • Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Centers — VA facilities around the country maintain centers for women veterans that offer outpatient mental health services.
  • Women Veterans Homelessness Programs — Women vets who are homeless or at risk can get assistance in finding safe shelter.

It’s been well documented how disabling PTSD is for both men and women veterans. However, vets applying for disability benefits often face initial denials even when they submit valid claims. If your disability claim has been denied, trust our VA accredited attorneys to fight for your rights.

Let our VA accredited attorneys fight for your PTSD disability benefits

Women veterans suffering from PTSD don’t have to fight the VA alone. Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can manage your appeal all the way through the rigorous process. Call us from anywhere in the country at 866-866-VETS, and someone will be ready to talk to you, or you can contact us online. Our firm never charges upfront fees, and there are no attorney fees unless we win your claim for benefits.