Issues in women’s health have been hot in the news and the Republican presidential primaries lately. The current debate highlights a broader issue: women are different than men. Women suffer different medical problems and the same medical problems differently. Because March is Women’s History Month, the V.A. issued a number of articles and tips for women, who currently make up 15% of active duty military members across all the branches and will grow to 10% of the veteran population by 2020.
On top of the typical V.A. benefits, such as VA Aid & Attendance Non Service Connected Disability Pension, the V.A. covers a number of health care services that are applicable to women. Breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy counseling, the HPV vaccine, menopausal support, and contraception are all covered under general V.A. primary care. While many of these treatments have become controversial, particularly the HPV vaccine and contraception, the V.A. has recognized them as women’s health treatments that may be important to servicewomen.
Additionally, the military has occasionally come under fire for sexual harassment and abuse of women. The V.A. offers an entire service for “military sexual trauma,” for both men and women, which can be found here. The U.S. military has made recognizing the difficulty that some women face as a result of their gender in the military an increasing priority. In 1992 the V.A. began monitoring and developing programs to deal with military sexual trauma. They have found that approximately 20% of military women experience some sexual trauma. The V.A. now offers free services in nearly 24 programs for victims of sexual trauma and does not require a disability rating for eligibility.
Finally, the V.A. covers specific female health issues, primarily related to pregnancy. These include maternity care, infertility evaluations, and other sexual problems. As part of the V.A.’s aggressive effort to reach out to female veterans and their specific health needs, the V.A. established an outbound call center to attempt to get the word out to more female veterans about the health care services available to them.
As part of its initiative this month to recognize the service of women in the military, the V.A. has released a number of videos about who have served, such as this one about Brigadier General Wilma Vaught who enlisted in 1957. Her story is about her experience as one of the first women in the military, her deployment, and her general experience in the Air Force. She recounts some of the pressure she felt about being one of the few women in the military at the time and her obligation to perform well to help pave the way for future women in the military.
Women like Brigadier General Vaught needed to exhibit an additional type of bravery during their service: the willingness to challenge the status quo, face those who refused to accept their roles in the armed forces, and general sexism. You can view more of their stories here.
As the number of female veterans increases, the need for proper V.A. Aid and Attendance benefits for women and their husbands will become increasingly important. Dual-veteran couples will also become more prevalent and bring their own planning challenged. Seeking the advice of a V.A. accredited attorney will be the best way to ensure that a properly prepared QVap Trust meets your particular planning needs.
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process?
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