Improving VA benefits for victims of sexual assault

8:18 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON D.C. (NEWS CENTER) -- For two decades, Ruth Moore, a veteran from Milbridge, fought to get treatment and benefits after being raped twice by a supervisor while serving in the Navy. Wednesday on Capitol Hill, her case is at the center of efforts to overhaul Veteran's Administration policies regarding such crimes. The Ruth Moore Act was introduced in Congress to force the V-A to grant the necessary benefits.

Under current law, the V-A requires a veteran applying for any sort of disability benefits to demonstrate "proof that an event or stressor happened to them while they were serving in the military."

But in cases of rape and sexual assault that proof, such as a military police report, can be near impossible to obtain. Under the Ruth Moore Act, a statement from the survivor - what's called lay testimony - would be sufficient proof.

"And what we're hearing is not enough people are getitng the assistance they need," says Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a co-sponsor of the bill. "So we want to make this just as simple as it is for people who suffer PTSD in combat. And we think we can do that through this bill."

While she was on Capitol Hill, Ruth Moore also delivered a petition to the V-A with 160-thousand signatures asking the VA to streamline the claims process for sexual trauma victims.


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