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PTSD, First Responders, and Workers Compensation

PTSD, First Responders, and Workers Compensation

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) meet Florida’s worker’s comp laws.  You’ll be spending a lot of time together in the future thanks to common sense legislation backed by Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

“…I have spent a lot of time in firehouses across our state and I quickly found out PTSD is a hidden killer among our first responder community. Our firefighters are attempting suicide at a rate five times higher than the general population and they are thinking about suicide more than nine times higher than the general population,” Patronis said.

He ran into strong opposition during the legislative process but he remained determined to change the current law and increase their mental health benefits.

“I vowed to fight for our firefighters and first responders until we got them the benefits and covered treatments they deserved,” Patronis said. “I am pleased to have seen the Florida Legislature join me in this fight resulting in the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 376.”

The bill covers firefighters, police officers and EMTs. In the most simple terms, it changes the Florida Workers Compensation law when it comes to eligibility for benefits.

Governor Rick Scott says he will sign a bill that will allow first responders with posttraumatic stress disorder to qualify for workers compensation benefits. Scott made the announcement during a ceremony honoring Florida’s fallen firefighters.

The bill is a good one and will hopefully help first responders deal with the emotional and psychological toll that is part of their lives.  Importantly, the bill states that those eligible for worker’s comp benefits don’t have to have suffered a physical injury.  The language of the legislation shows that the legislators did their homework on the subject.  It is about time we recognize the psychological toll these men and women face each and every day and provide them some help just as they are there for us every single day.

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