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PTSD would be compensable injury for first responders under bill


Legislators in Oklahoma this week pre-filed legislation that would make line-of-duty mental injuries compensable for first responders.

Senate Bill 1457 would enable police officers, firefighters (both professional and volunteer) and emergency medical technicians who suffer on-the-job post-traumatic stress disorder to collect workers compensation benefits.

Generally, Oklahoma workers who suffer a work-related mental injury are barred from workers comp unless the diagnosis accompanies a physical injury.

The legislation would create an exemption for first responders.

Under the bill, employers would be obligated to provide “reasonable and necessary medical treatment” for first responders with PTSD for up to one year if the claim is found compensable.  

First responders with compensable mental injuries would be eligible for permanent disability benefits not exceeding $50,000 if they are unable to perform their job duties after reaching maximum medical improvement.