Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation if I have PTSD?
If you experience a traumatic event, while at work, that results in a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may be out of luck if you are expecting to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation laws prohibit the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder under workers’ compensation benefits. This may all be changing in some states, due to tragic occurrences that raised the question of why PTSD is not already on the list of covered diagnoses under workers compensation benefits.
Changing Rights for Individuals with PTSD?
Minnesota governors recently passed a bill that will add post traumatic stress disorder to workers’ compensation benefits. This change occurred after a school shooting. The teacher, who witnessed the shooting, developed PTSD and was no longer able to work. Currently, not many other states have made this conversion to include post traumatic stress disorder under workers’ compensation benefits. This is an unfortunate reality, for those unlucky few who experience traumatic events while on the job.
One Ohio court allowed for the workers’ compensation coverage of a truck driver who witnessed the death of a fellow motorist while driving his work truck. The Ohio court ruled that, under the circumstances, the man had definitely suffered from psychological damage after witnessing the death and he was granted benefits. This type of case by case basis seems to be the norm for most average Americans.
Why Can’t Employees Seek Benefits After a Traumatic Event?
The most plausible reason for the lack of coverage, nationwide, is the possibility of employees faking the condition of post traumatic stress disorder and abusing the system. There are special provisions that can be, and often are, made in extreme cases leaving the question of “will I be covered?” a bit open ended. If you are a federal employee or combat veteran, you will not have to worry whether you can seek compensation benefits for your work-related psychological injuries. All people who end up receiving benefits as a result of post traumatic stress disorder are first examined by a doctor, in order to have the diagnosis confirmed.
If all else fails and workers’ compensation benefits will not cover someone suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, the next step is to look into Social Security benefits. If the symptoms last long enough and are debilitating enough, a person may be able to receive benefits from Social Security. This is not a common occurrence in the average workplace, but when it does happen, it is good to know that there are options that go beyond workers compensation.
Federal employees and military personnel do fall under a category that allows for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of their working conditions. Post traumatic stress disorder is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA.) This is a service administered by the U.S. department of labor, created to help both the one diagnosed, as well as their family.
Regardless if your post traumatic stress disorder is directly related to work, it is important to seek medical help for your PTSD.