A group of Senate Democrats demanded President Obama issue rules allowing military sexual assault victims to receive medical care and disability compensation for mental health conditions.

“We urge your administration to reconsider the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recent denial of a petition to promulgate a rule governing disability compensation for mental health conditions incurred as a result of military sexual trauma,” senators wrote.


Sens. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallKennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing | GOP's Westerman looks to take on Democrats on climate change | White House urges passage of House public lands package Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE (D-Colo.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowFive things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit Bottom line MORE (D-Mich.) led the effort in sending a letter to the president on Thursday.

“The psychological effects of sexual violence persist long after a service member has left active duty, and many cases of sexual assault do not produce the same evidence or documentation as other traumatic events experienced by military personnel,” the senators wrote. “We believe current VA standards regarding evidence required to prove an occurrence of military sexual trauma fail to sufficiently take these basic facts into account when determining eligibility for benefits and services for survivors of military sexual trauma.”

The letter was prompted by the Department of Veterans Affairs' decision to not issue the rules. The Democratic senators said without new rules, military sexual assault victims will see their claims denied for medical issues related to the violent acts, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“VA adjudicators are not accurately and consistently applying VA regulations regarding the evidence required for a finding of military sexual trauma,” the letter stated. “As a result, adjudicators are disproportionately denying PTSD claims related to military sexual trauma.”

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) also signed the letter.