Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – First responders who develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after experiencing a work-related trauma would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under three proposals awaiting gubernatorial signatures and another moving through a state legislature. While they have differences, all the measures would provide benefits regardless of whether the worker had an associated physical injury.

The measure approved by an Ohio House panel states benefits would be provided: Where the claimant is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical worker and is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder that has been received in the course of, and has arisen out of, the claimant's employment as a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical worker

The provision is included in a bill that allocates more than $644.6 million for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for the next two years. The committee approved it on a vote of 26 to 2 and sent it to the House Rules and Reference Committee, despite opponents’ concerns that it might open the door to one day allow any worker to file a claim for a mental condition.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is considering signing a bill that would provide PTSD benefits for full-time firefighters, police officers, corrections and youth correction officers, parole and probation officers, and paid emergency dispatchers or 9-1-1- emergency operations who have served at least 5 years and experienced a single traumatic event.  

Benefits would be provided if the employee “establishes through a preponderance of persuasive medical evidence from a psychiatrist or psychologist that the covered employee has more likely than not satisfied the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 for post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder, any resulting death, disability or impairment of health of the covered employee shall be presumed to be compensable as an occupational disease,” the legislation states.

It would allow an insurer or self-insured employer to rebut the presumption “only by establishing through clear and convincing medical evidence that duties as a covered employee were not of real importance or great consequence in causing the diagnosed condition.”

S.B. 507 passed the House unanimously this week, following Senate passage last month.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has a bill that was given final approval late last month. Both chambers approved S.B. 107 unanimously. It would provide coverage for volunteer firefighters and any state police employees, as well as disability benefits for emergency medical services, police department or firefighters with PTSD.

Connecticut’s governor is also considering expanded benefits for first responders with PTSD.


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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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