Connecticut was among the first states to make workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) easier to get for first responders. Now a new law that takes effect at the beginning of 2024 allows people in any line of work to get workers’ comp for diagnosed PTSD if it resulted from a “qualifying event” at work.
With gun violence becoming an increasing issue in this country, those who work in schools, restaurants and bars, banks, courthouses, offices and just about any type of workplace can find themselves witness to death, serious injury and other traumatizing events.
To be able to get workers’ comp for PTSD, a person needs to be diagnosed with it by a mental health professional. Although the law says the PTSD must be “a direct result of an event that occurs in their course of employment,” it doesn’t require someone to prove a direct connection between the “qualifying event” and their condition.
What are the qualifying events?
The legislation was not without its opponents – specifically insurers and business owners. One insurance executive called the expansion of workers’ comp benefits “concerning.” However, she noted that the “eligibility criteria and limitations…may reduce the impact of this legislation.”
Insurers worked to get language in the law stating that someone must have witnessed a particular type of event to qualify for PTSD workers’ comp benefits. These include:
- A death or event that results in death
- A severe injury like disfigurement
- A deceased minor
Mental health professionals who work for companies that provide workers’ comp have been vocal in claiming that most people don’t suffer PTSD after witnessing a traumatic event. They also note that the law doesn’t address the fact that some people who are diagnosed with PTSD after a traumatizing event at work may already have it from past trauma. Like anyone who suffers a workplace injury that worsens a pre-existing condition, that will need to be considered.
While it’s important to know about this new law, don’t assume that your claim for PTSD-related workers’ comp will go unchallenged. You may need to be prepared with plenty of evidence and likely your medical history. Having experienced legal guidance can help you get the benefits you deserve for treatment and lost income.