“I fought for 23 years to get the benefits I was owed. My records were tampered with, I was diagnosed with a mental illness I didn’t have, and my life fell apart. That shouldn’t have to happen to anyone and this bill will make it a little easier for veterans who deserve some compensation,” said Ruth Moore, whose name the bill is named for, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. in February, when Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Jon Tester introduced the Ruth Moore Act, a bill that will make it easier for survivors of military sexual assault to get the benefits they deserve.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing today on the Ruth Moore Act. The bill, the Ruth Moore Act (H.R. 671), would simplify the way veterans qualify for benefits related to sexual assaults. Under the Act veterans would only have to show a medical diagnosis of a mental health condition and a link between an assault and that mental health condition.
Pingree testified while Ruth Moore looked on.
“Whetherthe attack happened on a Navy base in Europe or a National Guard training facility here in the U.S., whether they were soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, the story too often has the same ending: the victims were blamed, the crime was covered up, and the survivors themselves became the subject of further harassment and recrimination. And too often, what followed was years of mental health issues, lost jobs, substance abuse and homelessness,” said Pingree. “These stories don’t have to end this way. With the Ruth Moore Act we can change the VA’s policy so that veterans who survive a sexual assault can at least get the benefits they deserve.”