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Two more state legislatures introduce first responder PTSD bills

Posted On: Feb. 1, 2023 10:55 AM CST

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New York and Maryland lawmakers will consider legislation that would provide workers compensation benefits to certain first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

S.B. 3367, introduced Tuesday in New York and sent to the labor committee, would apply to police officers, correction officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency dispatchers or those certified to provide medical care in emergencies, and would require diagnosis by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

The bill states that if diagnosed “it shall be presumed to have been incurred during service in the line of duty and shall be compensable, unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the PTSD was caused by nonservice-connected risk factors or nonservice-connected exposure.”

The bill also states that such person who is diagnosed with PTSD within three years of the last active date of employment would be eligible for benefits.

Lawmakers in Maryland introduced S.B. 406 on Wednesday, cross-filed one week after the state’s House of Representatives introduced H.B. 335. Both bills, sent to committees, would apply to a list of professionals that include police officers, firefighters, members of a “rescue squad,” correctional officers, and 911 specialists.

In addition to diagnosis requirements, the first responder would have to complete at least two years of cumulative service within the state as a first responder and the claim would have to be filed while serving or within 18 months of separation from job duties. Benefits would be capped at two years from diagnosis, according to both bills.