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House Subcommittee Evaluates Mental Health Benefits for Victims of MST

On May 14, the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs passed, by voice vote, the Ruth Moore Act (H.R. 1607).

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would direct the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in any particular case in which a veteran claims that a covered mental health condition was incurred in, or aggravated by, military sexual trauma (MST) during active duty, to “accept as sufficient proof of service-connection a diagnosis by a mental health professional, together with satisfactory lay or other evidence of such trauma and an opinion by the mental health professional that such condition is related to such trauma…and resolve every reasonable doubt in favor of the veteran.” The bill would allow such service-connection to be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

The measure also would include as a “covered mental health condition” post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health diagnosis that the secretary determines to be related to MST.

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