In a resounding victory for first responders, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 74-22 in February 2020 in support of House Bill 308. The bill allows first responders to collect workers’ compensation benefits from the state of Ohio for post-traumatic stress – even if they have no physical condition attached to PTSD.
Until now, Ohio workers’ compensation had only covered physical injuries and physical conditions, as well as mental difficulties caused by those injuries or conditions.
First responders, which include firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other emergency personnel, will now submit any expenses for any care and recovery associated with PTSD directly to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for reimbursement.
PTSD and First Responders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. For first responders, terrifying events may happen on a regular basis. Witnessing deaths and accidents can certainly contribute to a moderate or severe case of PTSD.
The Legislative Service Commission predicts that new first responders’ PTSD coverage will account for about $44 million in costs and claims in the first year. The increased expenses will likely result in higher premiums being charged to public employers.
The bill will now go to the state senate.
Symptoms of PTSD may include depression, anxiety, nightmares, or unexplained bouts of rage. People who suffer from the disorder are also prone to suicidal ideations.
If you or someone you love needs assistance, you can reach the state of Ohio’s crisis line by texting 4HOPE to 741741 – this helpline works around the clock, weekdays and weekends alike. The national Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available by phone at 1-800-273-TALK.