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Veteran in a wheelchair being interviewed.

Testimony: VA’s Increasing Shift to Independent Contractor Exams Harms Trauma Survivors

The process for veterans to obtain service-connected benefits through the Veterans Affairs (VA) is often too complex and re-traumatizing. Consequently, the system is failing countless veterans. Particularly, through the inadequacies of the VA’s independent contractor examinations for service-members who are suffering from mental health concerns. Below is an excerpt, a PDF, and a video of our testimony calling to repair the failing examination process. 

“Gabriella put in a claim for service-connected compensation for her PTSD and depression relating to the [Military Sexual Trauma] MST she experienced. She was scheduled with an independent contractor. Prior to her exam, I spoke with her at length about the fact that this examiner would likely require her to walk through what happened to her again, and I provided mental health resources to ensure that she felt safe. I asked her to call me after the exam so that we could debrief. I didn’t hear from her for several days after her exam. When I finally did, she was in tears. Her examination had been a nightmare she said…”

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