Does PTSD Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
New legislation in Ohio would allow emergency responders to apply for workers’ compensation if they have received post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their occupation. Existing laws only allow for workers’ compensation benefits for a non-physical injury if the condition arose from forced sexual conduct under the threat of physical harm. This new legislation would include PTSD as a work injury and enable injured workers to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Supporters of the bill argue that emergency responders are exposed to situations that can cause long-lasting emotional scarring, such as car accidents and violent crimes.
The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Ohio have announced their support for the bill, saying that first responders deserve compensation to address mental health conditions arising from their jobs.
Opponents to the bill argue that it could be abused, leading to frivolous and false claims. The legislation is expected to cost $182 million annually and would double premiums for public employers.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can cause severe anxiety attacks, nightmares and emotional outbursts. The disorder is common among war veterans as well as survivors of natural disasters and violent crimes.
Over 7.5 million Americans have PTSD and 67 percent of people exposed to violence have been shown to develop the disorder.
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Did You Know? In a 1997 study of New York EMS workers, it was discovered that 20 percent of EMS workers experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.