Post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition with detrimental impacts on the victim’s life. Symptoms like anxiety, fear, depression, and sleeplessness may impact an affected individual’s ability to work and provide for themselves and their family. PTSD may also have significant physical effects including headaches, agitation, tremors, and shortness of breath during anxiety attacks.
When trauma experienced or witnessed on the job causes PTSD, the employee deserves the same consideration and protections they’d receive from other on-the-job injuries. Beginning in January of 2024, Connecticut expands workers’ compensation benefits to provide coverage for this type of emotional injury—known as post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).
What is PTSD?
When an individual experiences trauma or becomes a witness to traumatic events, it may have lasting emotional consequences that interfere with their ability to function in their daily lives. The affected individual may require therapy, medication, and time to fully process their experiences. Until now, Connecticut only allowed compensation for claims of post-traumatic stress injuries for first responders, including law enforcement officers, paramedics, 911 dispatchers, and fire department employees. Now, an act passed by Connecticut’s legislature expands workers’ compensation benefits to allow all Connecticut employees whose employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to claim PTSD as a work-related injury under specific circumstances when they experience significant trauma in the workplace or while on the job. Affected employees may file a claim for PTSD as they would for any other work-related injury beginning in 2024..
What Are the Eligibility Requirements to Claim PTSD Compensation in 2024?
Starting in January of 2024, employees diagnosed by qualified medical professionals with PTSD are eligible for benefits previously reserved only for emergency responders who witness a death or other traumatic medical event or act of violence. Now, employees of any Connecticut workplace may file a workers’ compensation claim for a post-traumatic stress injury if they experienced specific qualifying events while on the job. These events include any of the following:
Viewing a deceased child or minor
Witnessing a death or an event that causes death
Witnessing an injury to someone who later dies from the injury
Witnessing a traumatic injury resulting in the loss of a body part, loss of a bodily function, or one that causes significant disfigurement
Carrying, giving aid, or having contact with an injured person who dies of ther injury either before or during hospitalization
Any of the above traumatic experiences can leave the witness with symptoms of post-traumatic stress that may make it difficult for them to successfully perform at work or to carry on daily routines. This mental health illness requires treatment and recovery time, as do physical injuries and deserve the same protections.
What Benefits Are Available for Employees Diagnosed With PTSD?
Just as with physical injuries, a successful workers’ compensation claim for PTSD in Connecticut beginning in 2024 provides qualifying employees with compensation for their mental health treatment and lost income benefits during their treatment and recovery period. Just as with first responders, employees with PTSD cannot claim benefits for an event that occurred more than four years before they filed for benefits. Connecticut caps workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD at 52 weeks. Employers may also contest benefits for employees diagnosed with PTSD as they may dispute benefits from other injuries, though deadlines for contesting PTSD benefits may differ from benefits for physical injuries.
If you’ve experienced or witnessed a traumatic event like any of those described above, a New Haven workers’ compensation attorney may be able to assist you in finally receiving compensation for the treatment you need to recover from this very real injury.