Evers signs bipartisan bill to allow worker’s compensation benefits for PTSD for public safety officers

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Updated: 04/27/2021 04:33 PM

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, April 27, signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 11, now Wisconsin Act 29, which will allow public safety officers—including law enforcement and firefighters—who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder under certain conditions to receive worker’s compensation benefits.

“This bill ensures that they can take care of themselves, get treatment, cope and get the help they need to serve their communities and live healthier lives for themselves and their families,” Evers said in a signing event at a fire station in Madison.

Milwaukee-area leaders said the bill will have a much-needed, profound impact on police and firefighters.

“We are exposed to at a staggering and increasing rate to just horrible acts of violence and carnage,” Acting Fire Chief Aaron Lipski told CBS 58.

Chief Lipski said the increased gun violence and reckless driving incidents in the city on top of fire responses are taking a toll on firefighters.

“We are seeing an uptick in the past few years in the need for mental health support for our members,” Lipski said in an interview.

The city’s top firefighter said the bill will allow more members to seek the help they need.

“To have a way to get to an actual treatment option that recognizes that so much of this does come from the workplace especially this work place, I think that’s a positive thing,” Lipski said.

More about SB 11, now Wisconsin Act 29:

  • Allows payment of worker’s compensation benefits if a public safety officer, such as a law enforcement officer or firefighter, is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, and the mental injury is not accompanied by a physical injury if if proven by a preponderance of the evidence and the mental injury is not a result of a good faith employment action by the employer; and
  • Limits the liability for treatment of such injuries and claims to no more than 32 weeks after the injury is first reported, and restricts compensation for such injuries and diagnoses to three times within an individual's lifetime regardless of a change in employment status.

Published: 04/27/2021 09:33 AM

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, April 27, signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 11, now Wisconsin Act 29, which will allow public safety officers—including law enforcement and firefighters—who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder under certain conditions to receive worker’s compensation benefits.

Watch the signing below: 

“We know the toll post-traumatic stress can take on our first responders might otherwise go unseen, but today we’re going to help make sure it doesn’t go unheard,” said Gov. Evers. “We’re saying today that we want to dismantle that stigma around post-traumatic stress and mental health—we want our first responders to know that we see these effects, we’re going to call it like it is, and there’s no shame in talking about it or getting help.”

More about SB 11, now Wisconsin Act 29:

  • Allows payment of worker’s compensation benefits if a public safety officer, such as a law enforcement officer or firefighter, is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, and the mental injury is not accompanied by a physical injury if if proven by a preponderance of the evidence and the mental injury is not a result of a good faith employment action by the employer; and
  • Limits the liability for treatment of such injuries and claims to no more than 32 weeks after the injury is first reported, and restricts compensation for such injuries and diagnoses to three times within an individual's lifetime regardless of a change in employment status.

The governor also issued a signing statement. Read it below: 

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