On Mar. 23, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 6214 into law, allowing first responders to file for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Police officers, firefighters, and paramedics will all be eligible to receive workers comp for PTSD acquired on the job.
Workers’ compensation claims for PTSD and other stress-related mental conditions are not allowed by state law. This bill excludes first responders with job-related PTSD from that ban.
SB 6214 was sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma. “The military has recognized PTSD as a work-caused condition and is taking steps to address it,” Conway said. “Our firefighters, police officers and other first responders are exposed to a level of trauma on the job that the average person doesn’t face, and it can take a heavy toll. We need to address it through the workers’ compensation system so that they get the support they need and deserve.”
The bill only allows first responders to make a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD if they have served for 10 years before acquiring the condition. Also, PTSD-related claims would not be allowed if the diagnosis was spurred by disciplinary action, performance evaluations, transfers, layoffs, or justifiable firings.