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Workers' compensation and PTSD in Minnesota

Minnesota workers who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a work-related incident - or incidents - may qualify for workers' compensation benefits, but only under certain limited circumstances. Under current law, anyone who suffered an on the job injury after October 1, 2013 that resulted in a PTSD diagnosis may be compensated for the resulting PTSD. Even in such cases, the circumstances in which workers' compensation may be awarded are limited.

In instances where a worker has suffered PTSD due to job-related mental stress, workers' compensation will not be available. Minnesota law requires a physical component to the injury in order for it to be compensable. This means that workers who have witnessed something on the job, such as a death or been subjected to a situation like a robbery will not qualify for benefits.

Proposed legislation is hoping to carve out an exception for first responders who suffer from PTSD as a result of their work. First responders are often exposed to death, violence, and highly stressful situations on the job. These situations, in turn, can result in PTSD. The bill proposes that PTSD be considered a presumptive work-related injury for law enforcement officers, fire fighters, EMTs and other first responders.

Until such a law passes, those who suffer from PTSD as a result of non-injury related on-the-job stress, including first responders, are not covered by workers' compensation. In cases where a workplace injury resulted in PTSD, there must be medical evidence that directly connects the PTSD diagnosis to the physical injury in order for it to be compensable.

Source: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, "Workers' compensation: Post-traumatic stress disorder and mental injuries," accessed Feb. 20, 2018

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