Governor Signs Bipartisan Bill to Allow Worker’s Compensation Benefits for PTSD for Public Safety Officers

Gov. Tony Evers 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.

“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.”

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.