Support ALL Vets Applying for PTSD Benefits
  • Petitioned Department of Veterans Affairs

This petition was delivered to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Under Secretary of Benefits at the Dept. of Veteran Affairs
Allison Hickey
Secretary of the Dept. of Veteran Affairs
Eric Shinseki

Support ALL Vets Applying for PTSD Benefits

    1. Petition by

      Ruth Moore

      Milbridge, ME

 

In 1986, at age 18, I joined the Navy eager to fight for my country. I had no idea that two and a half months into my first assignment, I would be raped – twice – by my supervisor. That was the first betrayal - resulting in a life filled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, a sexually transmitted disease, miscarriages, suicide attempts, homelessness, an end to my marriage, and terror I have lived with ever since. Now in my 40s, I am permanently and totally disabled. PTSD affects my ability to maintain employment, trust in relationships,function socially, and even get up in the morning.



The second betrayal I experienced was when the Veterans Administration (VA) repeatedly denied me disability benefits for PTSD that I was entitled to by law and they wouldn’t correct their errors, even when they were first addressed over 19 years ago, in 1993.



After twenty-three years of fighting the VA, I finally had my claim awarded (without any retroactive compensation)– but only at a 70% disability rating. In two and a half decades, while dealing with the aftermath of my assault without anyVA support, I suffered enormously.



I am not alone. By DOD’s own estimates, over 19,000 service members are assaulted in the military each year - over 500,000 men and women in the past five decades. For countless veterans like me, a denied VA claim is the second betrayal, and can mean the difference between life and death. And yet the VA has established and used a completely biased, unjust system for approving PTSD disability benefits.  It is a system that is designed to save money and cut costs to our veterans.  This results in veterans suffering needlessly.



Last year, the civil rights organization Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) uncovered appalling data. From 2008-2010, the VA only approved 32.3% of Military Sexual Trauma-related PTSD claims versus 54.2% of all other PTSD claims. It’s not surprising – the VA requires survivors like me to provide evidence that usually doesn’t exist, and even when we do provide it, the VA doesn’t  believe us, or worse yet, they discount it or “lose” it, like they did in my case.  Why are we punished twice?  Each time we reopen a claim with VA, we are forced to relive our trauma and pain.  



The VA has the authority to make a simple regulatory change, so that Military Sexual Trauma survivors aren’t held to a higher standard of proof than other veterans with PTSD. I am asking  the VA to revise its policy immediately, then ensure that all regional offices follow the same standards when processing  MST and PTSD claims– so that veterans like me do not have to live the rest of their lives in pain, or worse – take their own lives.  



General Shinseki, you must act now. You have the ability to help and save hundreds of thousands of lives with the power of your pen.  

America’s outcry demands that you face the crisis of rape in the military and be there for those of us who have served our country with more honor than we ever received.

Sincerely,
Ruth Moore

 More Info: 

SWAN Helpline for Legal and Social Service Referrals
1-888-729-2089
helpline@servicewomen.org
M-F 10am-6pm EST
http://servicewomen.org/our-work/peer-support/

www.servicewomen.org

SWAN is a civil rights organization founded and led by women veterans. SWAN's vision is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and the freedom to serve in uniform without threat of harassment, discrimination, intimidation or assault. SWAN also seeks to reform veterans' services on a national scale to guarantee equal access to quality health care, benefits and resources for women veterans and their families. You can find the Service Women's Action Network onour homepage, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 150,000 signatures
    2. We are making great progress!

      Ruth Moore
      Petition Organizer

      11183 people who commented on my petition. Many of whom endured what I did. MST-PTSD survivors. Names, dates, stories, histories... it is numbing. And ALL of them deal with people in their lives, churches, employment, family - who don't understand and blame them for reactive behaviors to triggers. Demanding that they change or "get better" so they can fit into society. I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE. I sat and cried at this information tonight. I am a real person and I am not alone.

      My blessing in Bethesda is coming true. I am reaching and helping tens of thousands of dear veterans that I will never know.

      My petition is at 144,485 signatures. People really do care... People all over the United States. Real people. Thank you for signing and sharing this. Please continue to push this across the net. We only have a little over 5000 signatures to make this
      possible for me to take to DC.

      Ruth USN K-124 1986

    3. VBA update

      Ruth Moore
      Petition Organizer

      Since I testified on July 18, the VBA has opened and closed my claim in 1 day (without my knowledge or consent on July 25) and given me a year to appeal their denial. They didn't even ask for supporting information. Again.

      I would like to thank you all for your tremendous help and encourage you to keep spreading this petition. We are generating enough attention to this issue to cause them to react in haste.

      Your voices are heard and appreciated greatly. For those that want to talk, please send me messages through change.org with your contact information, and I will reach out as much as I can.

      Ruth

    4. Reached 100,000 signatures

    Supporters

    @AshleyJudd

    Nov 10, 2012

    Read military sexual trauma survivor Ruth Moore's story & learn about life with PTSD, + take action: http://t.co/vaO87Xbj

    ashley judd
    140k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Victoria Fernandez LOS ANGELES, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      My father is now in treatment. He's been in the army since I was 2 years old, I turn 21 in March of 2015. He served in Afghanistan. That should be enough, don't you think?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sieh Samura BOSTON, MA
      • about 1 month ago

      They give vets with ptsd the benefit of doubt but not sexually assaulted vets??

      Thats wrong.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Steve Wolf ALBUQUERQUE, NM
      • about 1 month ago

      It took over 35 years to be diagnosed with PTSD.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tiffaney Hubbard FALL RIVER, MA
      • about 1 month ago

      It's important because people don't seem to realize that PTSD is a real, actual issue. It's hard enough for veteran's to return home and re-acclimate themselves to civilian life, but imagine what they had to go through and what they saw fighting a war over in whatever country they returned from. Denouncing PTSD as an actual disorder is like telling a woman who's just given birth that her post-partum depression is all in her head.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ronald Benn CLARENDON, PA
      • about 1 month ago

      I am awaiting a decision on MY Disability benefits.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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