August 21, 2023

Missouri Enacts PTSD Presumption for First Responders

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 24 into law, creating a PTSD presumption in workers’ comp for first responders.

This act establishes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a compensable occupational disease under workers' comp when diagnosed in first responders. A first responder shall not require a physical injury in order to be eligible for benefits, but PTSD that pre-exists a qualifying traumatic event at the workplace is not compensable.

Any claim for compensation for an injury shall be properly noticed to the Division of Workers' Compensation within 52 weeks after the qualifying exposure, or the diagnosis of the disorder, whichever is later.

In this case, first responders include firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and 911 dispatchers.

This law exemplifies the continuing trends from the last several years that expands PTSD coverage in workers’ comp for first responders. Earlier this year, several states proposed similar legislation, and while not all proposed bills advanced, it is unlikely this trend will cease anytime soon.

In July, Connecticut enacted a PTSD presumption law for all employees, not just first responders, indicating that mental health presumptions impacting the workers’ comp industry could continue to grow more prevalent.

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