- Staff Writer
Disability Benefits for Women Veterans
Female veterans account for 9.4% of all veterans, but this number is growing since women represent 15.5% of active duty military personnel and 19% of the National Guard and Reserve forces. Women military personnel will often suffer from mental and physical trauma at some point in their career. Whether at basic training or on deployment, women service members are exposed to physical and mental stressors that can lead to lifelong injuries. As a result, 20.1% of women veterans have a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Click here to see if you qualify.
Read below for answers to questions like, “Can women veterans have PTSD?”, “What is Military sexual trauma and is it a disability?”, “What are common disabilities for women veterans?”, “What type of disability ratings do women veterans get?” and facts about women veterans disability claims.
Traumatic Stress (PTSD) in Women Veterans
For many women veterans, the negative impact of going to war is felt internally, with female veterans reporting high levels of PTSD. Women are deployed to combat zones and serve in combat support missions. And even though they haven’t ‘officially’ been in combat roles, anyone who has been deployed overseas and in dangerous situations know that the stress is high and the danger is real, even if you are ‘technically’ in a support position. Women veterans are often subject to hostile fire and see casualties during their deployment – all things that can lead to PTSD.
Women veterans are also at risk for sexual abuse. Military sexual trauma (MST), including unwanted sexual comments, harassment and assault are all too common in the military. Sexual trauma is horrific under any circumstances, but the trauma is amplified in the military where women soldiers often have to remain on the same camp or base as the perpetrator. Being forced to work and live with or near them can make the victimization that much more traumatic, while making it more difficult to heal. Though the military has taken steps to try and reduce military sexual trauma, this is still a very real experience for many women soldiers and veterans.
Women veterans may also suffer from feelings of isolation, face discrimination and be impacted by the stress of not being able to care for their children and parents at home.
Physical Injuries in Women Veterans
According to the Women Veteran Report published by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 56 percent of all women Veterans have served since 1990. This means that the majority of female veterans who were deployed have been deployed during the Gulf War era and may be suffering the effects of Gulf War syndrome, a condition that can cause a large variety of physical ailments ranging from joint pain to headaches and stomach issues.
The Number of Women Veterans Are Growing
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 2 million women serving in the military and that number is expected to increase by 16% within the next two decades. Women veterans are growing in numbers, and so is the percentage of women veterans with a disability rating. In 2015, 20.1 percent of women veterans had a VA disability rating. To find out if you qualify for VA disability, schedule a FREE consultation with Quinn Veterans Law.
More Women Veterans Are Using VA Healthcare
In 2015, 22.4% of women veterans used the VA healthcare system. That’s a 46.4% increase from 2005. In order to use this system, veterans need to either retire from the military or have a 30% or higher disability rating. Those who do have a 30% plus disability rating with the VA can receive reduced cost and/or FREE healthcare. This includes office visits, hospital care, lab tests, medication, counseling services, etc.
Women veterans who want to receive FREE medical care from the VA should contact our law firm to discuss their health problems and determine if they should apply for disability benefits. Click here to schedule a FREE consultation.
Women Veteran Disability Facts (types of disability and compensation ratings)
The 2017 Women Veterans Report breaks down the statistics of how many women veterans are disabled and what the common disabilities are. Of the 20.1 percent of women veterans who are disabled, the most common disabilities are:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Major depressive disorder
Lower back pain
Women veterans may also suffer from Gulf War Syndrome, damage to limbs, asthma and other health conditions. Because the VA will rate each condition individually, veterans can receive a rating for multiple conditions that add up to their overall rating (read our VA fuzzy math page to see how the numbers do and don’t add up). 54% of disabled women veterans have a disability rating of 50 percent or higher and in many cases that is because of receiving a disability rating for multiple service-connected injuries.
There are also 6 percent of women veterans who the VA considers unemployable. In this case, they are receiving additional Individual Unemployability compensation above and beyond the compensation for their individual disabilities (typically it takes veterans to the 100% compensation level even if their disability rating isn’t that high). To find out if you qualify for Individual Unemployability compensation, speak with a lawyer – it’s free.
Other forms of benefits received by women veterans include:
Vocational Rehabilitation and Education assistance (21% of participating veterans are women)
Educational benefits (7.4 percent of women veterans are currently using them)