A VA letter sent to veterans offering to review denied sexual trauma claims is “inappropriate, insensitive and unhelpful,” according to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. His concerns are in response to a letter VA began sending out in April to veterans who had filed disability compensation claims for post-traumatic stress related to sexual trauma, but whose claims were denied. This VA sexual assault letter was sent after VA officials revised their criteria for disability compensation claims for victims of rape and sexual assault to recognize that a trail of military records may not be present. The review is part of an effort to give those with denied claims another shot.
The letter, signed by Thomas Murphy, director of VA’s compensation service, tells veterans whose sexual assault claims were denied that a new review is possible “to determine if any evidence was overlooked.” The letter does not provide a name or number to contact. In addition, it does not tell veterans that policies have changed so there is a better chance of approval.