Advocacy Strategies for Service Connection Claims based on Military Sexual Trauma (VSO)


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In recent years, Congress, the VA, and the media have shined a brighter light on the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. According to the VA, this issue, referred to as military sexual trauma or MST, is reported by about 1 in every 4 women, and 1 in every 100 men, who receives VA health care. As if the initial traumatic event is not bad enough, many MST survivors subsequently suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder or other mental conditions. Since most instances of MST go unreported, MST survivors often have difficulty proving their in-service stressor to the VA; thus, their service connection claims are frequently denied. It is vital for veterans advocates to know the strategies for success in these claims. This webinar will discuss the best methods for ensuring that the VA grants service connection claims for mental conditions based on MST.

This 90-minute webinar will cover:

• The definition of MST
• The types of evidence the VA will consider in its determination of whether an in-service stressor occurred, and how veterans and advocates can develop evidence in support of their claims
• Important cases advocates should cite to in order to bolster their arguments
• Advocacy tips and strategies specifically geared toward MST cases
• Success stories from NVLSP’s MST program

This webinar will be presented by Bernadette Valdellon, Esq.