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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Celebrates Committee Passage of PTSD Workers’ Comp Bill

HARTFORD – State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today joined in the Labor Committee passage of one her top legislative priorities over the past several years: a bill to expand workers’ compensation benefits to cover mental or emotional impairment.

Senate Bill 164, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Osten, passed the Labor Committee today on a 12-2 bipartisan vote and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The bill adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or so-called “mental-mental” injuries, to Connecticut’s workers’ compensation coverage laws. Currently, only a ‘mental’ injury caused by a physical injury – such as a police officer needing psychological counseling after being shot and wounded – are covered by worker’s compensation insurance.

“First responders who have witnessed traumatic events on the job can experience difficulty coping or adjusting to the event for weeks and months at a time,” Sen. Osten said in support of the bill. “Connecticut only covers work-related mental injuries when they are sustained in conjunction with a physical injury. But standalone mental injuries can be debilitating and limiting enough that they need to be addressed and accounted for in the realm of worker’s compensation. That’s what this bill does. “

The bill voted out of the Labor Committee today extends worker’s comp to incidents where a police officer or a firefighter witnesses the “death or maiming” of a human being in the line of duty, or witnesses the “immediate aftermath” of that death or maiming.

The bill calls for these workers’ compensation claims to be paid not by any city or town, but to be paid by the State of Connecticut out of a workers’ compensation insurance policy taken out by the state.

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