Congress Has a Bone to Pick with the VA

Last month, the ACLU and the Service Women's Action Network, with support from the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Clinic, released a report documenting the discrimination experienced by military veterans who file disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by military sexual violence. Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Violence analyzes new data obtained from the VA by SWAN, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Connecticut as a result of Freedom of Information Act litigation we filed three years ago.

Fortunately, members of Congress took note of our report and demanded answers from the VA.  Last week, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) led a bipartisan group of 49 representatives in urging the VA to improve its oversight, transparency, training and record keeping for disability claims for PTSD arising from sexual violence.

In their letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the group wrote, “As you know, sexual assault and harassment are serious problems in the United States armed forces that threaten the strength, readiness, and morale of the military, undermine national security, and have devastating personal effects on survivors and their families. Yet, based on records that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) withheld for years, it is evident that veterans who survive in-service sexual trauma also face discrimination in seeking compensation."

We commend these lawmakers for taking action to address the unfair and unacceptable barriers our military vets who have experienced sexual violence face when seeking the disability benefits they deserve. These brave men and women have sacrificed so much in serving their country. It’s long past due for the VA to stand by its mission and “treat all veterans and their families with the utmost dignity and compassion."

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Well, doesn't that just figure. I didn't find the members of Congress we hear about all the time on any of those signatures. Not even my own. In fact I've never even heard of more than one of the names on that list and I only heard of that one a few days ago. Besides, when I was in Arizona there was a mayor named Napolitano, Janet Napolitano, so the name's familiar anyway.
Isn't Congress the same as the House of Representatives? I don't know. I didn't listen all that well in American Government in my Senior year. I was too busy trying to avoid this boy named Tony Becker who never stopped trying to talk to me while we're right in the middle of a lecture. All of it bored him. He said he wasn't going to need any of this stuff b/c he's going to "be a hit-man for the mafia, make big money and have all the women I want."
I thought he was just talking nonsense but anyway, I didn't HEAR a lot of what we learned and I've forgotten a lot of what I DID hear.

The 70's show Benson taught me more about politics than anything else and gave me hope that maybe one day there could actually BE a politician in real life who had morals and ethics like Governor Gatling, played by James Noble.

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