Currently Hundreds Of Women Veterans Are Being Denied Proper Recognition, Benefits, & Critical Health Services
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) led colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough urging them to identify and amend military records of approximately 310 women veterans who deployed alongside Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure they accurately reflect their combat service. She was joined by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
Before female servicemembers were able to formally serve in combat roles, female Cultural Support Teams were deployed to combat zones with Special Operations Forces in order to engage with the female populations, greatly expanding operational and intelligence-gathering capabilities. Many of these women accompanied Special Forces on raids and sustained injuries, but their military records do not reflect their combat service. As a result, they have been denied health care and disability benefits relating to their service-connected injuries.
“Instead of being treated for physical and mental injuries resulting from their deployments, these women have been turned away by the VA, unable to convince a clinician that their injuries such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and disabling physical trauma are combat-related,” wrote the Senators. “Due to these administrative oversights, we call upon you to remedy these errors so our nation may properly recognize and care for our female combat veterans.”
“We are committed to ensuring that all servicemembers and veterans have accurate military service records and receive the care and benefits they have earned,” the Senators’ letter concluded.
Senator Rosen is working to ensure all veterans have access to the resources and benefits they deserve. Earlier this year, she introduced the bipartisan Jax Act with Senators Ernst and Duckworth to mandate that the Administration recognize and provide benefits to female veterans who served in combat zones and sustained service-connected injuries. This spring, she introduced the bipartisan VA Zero Suicide Demonstration Project Act to take steps to address the deaths of veterans by suicide.
The full letter can be found here.