A new law will take effect next month that expands workers’ compensation benefits for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers and other first responders.
Workers comp for those professions will now include post-traumatic stress disorder.
State Senator Dana Young of Tampa, who co-sponsored the Senate bill 376, said this is a “straightforward, common-sense solution to a terrible problem.”
"In our country, more first responders die from suicide than they do in the line of duty and that's just unacceptable,” Young said. “So we are taking the first step to right that wrong."
Prior to the law’s passage, PTSD was only covered by worker’s comp if a mental injury was accompanied by a physical injury that required medical treatment.
The legislation was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Rick Scott.
"Just knowing that they do face unimaginable horror things in the line of duty, they now can get the help they need,” Young said.
The bill also requires an employing agency of a first responder to provide educational training related to mental health awareness, prevention, mitigation, and treatment.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance estimates the fiscal impact of the bill on Florida’s workers’ compensation system is about 0.2 percent, or approximately $7 million.