June 22, 2024

More States Continue with PTSD Legislation

Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed Oklahoma Senate Bill 1457 into law, making mental health-related injures compensable for first responders without the requirement of a physical injury.

This bill applies to mental injuries that occur in the line of duty, speaking to police officers, professional and volunteer firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who are diagnosed with PTSD.

According to the bill’s text, PTSD must arise from having experienced, witnessed, or confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of others, and the response involved fear, helplessness or horror.

PTSD medical treatment is limited to one year, with maximum reimbursement for prescription medications of $10,000. Those unable to perform duties after a year of treatment would be eligible for disability benefits up to $50,000. This law will go into effect January 1, 2025.

Additionally, Rhode Island Senate Bill 2059 was passed into law recently, creating PTSD presumptions for firefighters and police officers if PTSD is found to be work-related. The presumption would not cover PTSD stemming from disciplinary actions, evaluations, transfers, layoffs, demotions, or terminations.

In other news, Georgia House Bill 451 was signed into law, requiring all statewide public entities to offer supplemental, illness-specific insurance to certain first responders diagnosed with occupational PTSD.

Impacted workers are to receive a $3,000 lump sum payment and up to 36 months of disability and income replacement benefits over the course of their lifetime if they are unable to continue working as a first responder. To qualify, the PTSD must be due to line-of-duty traumatic events. Volunteer first responders are covered by this law as well.

First responders who receive these supplemental benefits may be required by their insurer to be reevaluated by a qualified diagnostician selected by the insurer.

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