Big win for Ohio employers: PTSD benefits for first responders
On January 9, 2021, Ohio Governor DeWine signed into law House Bill 308, which creates a fund for the payment of compensation and benefits for first responders who become disabled as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), without an accompanying physical injury, received in the course of, and arising out of, employment.
The passing of HB 308 is a big win for all Ohioans because it creates a solution that works for both first responders and Ohio businesses. The bill addresses first responder’s mental health needs while still protecting the integrity of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation fund that has provided treatment and compensation to individuals with physical injuries for over 100 years.
Who is covered by HB 308?
“First responder” has yet to be defined under the bill, but is expected to include police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
Is this different than workers’ compensation?
Yes. Current workers’ compensation law permits PTSD, so long as it arises out of the allowed physical injuries in the claim. Recognizing the unique challenges placed on first responders, HB 308 permits benefits for those diagnosed with PTSD as a result of their employment without an accompanying physical injury.
Who pays for this new PTSD fund?
Public employers who employ first responders will be assessed premiums to finance the PTSD fund. Private employers will not be responsible for paying into the PTSD fund.
HB 308 will be effective April 12, 2021.
Bricker & Eckler LLP assisted several Ohio business organizations with the development of this bill and testified at several Senate hearings on this issue. If you have questions how HB 308 will affect your business, please contact one of Bricker & Eckler’s attorneys.