Photo of Senator Needleman.

State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Sen. Needleman Supports PTSD Coverage For Police And Firefighters

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HARTFORD – The state Senate took the first step today toward providing Connecticut’s police officers and firefighters with workers’ compensation coverage for the emotional and mental injuries they suffer on the job after witnessing some particularly horrible trauma.

Senate Bill 164, “An Act Including Certain Mental or Emotional Impairments Within the Definition of Personal Injury Under the Workers’ Compensation Statutes,” passed the Senate today on a 35-0 vote; it now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill essentially expands the definition of ‘personal injury’ in state workers’ compensation laws to include so-called “mental-mental” injuries (a mental injury without an accompanying physical injury), as of July 1, 2019. The new provisions are expected to cover an estimated 36,000 state and local employees, including 26,800 firefighters, 8,180 police officers, 958 state police officers and 140 parole officers.

“In my work as Essex’s First Selectman, I work closely with local emergency services, and I’ve seen first-hand the challenges they face every day,” said Sen. Needleman. “We need to support those who see traumatic incidents. Post-traumatic stress can negatively impact a person’s life, sometimes changing their entire lives. This legislation gets suffering first responders the help they need, and I am more than happy to support it.”

“Although this bill does not include EMS personnel, I am happy that it was amended to support a study of expanding coverage to them in the near future,” said Sen. Needleman. They are exposed to the same level of stress on the job and suffer as high a percentage of cases of PTSD. It is my sincere hope that next year, we will revisit the issue and extend this coverage to EMS first responders. In many cases, they are the first on the scene and have to deal with the difficult task of witnessing and managing critical situations, often resulting in the loss of life or worse.”

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