In most cases, Florida’s workers’ compensation laws do not provide compensation for workers with a mental health issue that is not accompanied by a physical injury. However, a 2007 law made it possible for first responders to receive workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Proposed legislative changes may give first responders more time to file PTSD workers’ compensation claims.
Proposed change to workers’ compensation law
A bill that recently passed the Florida House aims to provide first responders with more time to file PTSD workers’ compensation claims. First responders currently have 90 days from the date of diagnosis to file a PTSD claim with their employer. The proposed legislation would give first responders 52 weeks from the diagnosis date to file.
Impact of the bill
The Department of Financial Services expects that the bill could cause a significant increase in local and state workers’ compensation costs. The average cost of a PTSD workers’ compensation claim in the state is $42,326.09 per claim. Extending the filing time should help ensure those first responders with work-related PTSD get the medical care they need. However, it will also likely drive up the cost of workers’ compensation in the state. Additionally, some advocates believe the legislation does not go far enough because it only applies to first responders and not to other important front-line workers.
Overall support for the bill seems high, with it advancing in the House unopposed. However, lawmakers may modify the bill before putting it up for a vote to become law.