Can you get workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD?

| Dec 14, 2017 | Workers' Compensation |

The short answer to that question is yes, but matters are hardly ever that simple, especially when insurance benefits come into play. Workers’ compensation insurance covers physical, mental and psychological injuries, but obtaining benefits for what is largely an unseen and subjective psychological condition (through the eyes of insurance adjusters and employers) could be problematic.

Proving that you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder would obviously require more evidence than proving a broken leg. Everyone can see the cast on your leg, but no one can look into your mind. Even so, it is possible to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD resulting from some sort of trauma in your workplace.

Employers and the Americans with Disabilities Act

When members of the U.S. Armed Forces began returning from the Gulf War, recognition of the seriousness and real presence of PTSD occurred. Many veterans had difficulties readjusting to “normal life” after the atrocities they witnessed, and PTSD gained more traction under the ADA.

This means that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who suffer from PTSD. If employers must provide such accommodations, then logically, they must recognize that PTSD can be a debilitating psychological issue requiring treatment.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD

Many people who suffer from PTSD share the following common behaviors:

  • Angry outbursts
  • Nightmares
  • Tension
  • Flashbacks
  • Easily startled
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Emotional numbness
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Avoidance of thoughts, places and people

If, after going through some sort of trauma at work, you experience these types of symptoms, you could suffer from PTSD. At times, this condition can be debilitating. You may not be functional at work without treatment.

Treat it like any other work-related injury

If you believe you suffer from PTSD, and believe that something at work caused it, you need to follow the same path as anyone who suffers from an on-the-job injury. You will still need to inform your employer and seek treatment. Fortunately, new treatments can help manage your symptoms, but it may take some time to reach the right combination of medication and treatment.

In the meantime, you may apply for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your care and treatment and perhaps any income you may lose during this trying time. As mentioned above, providing the appropriate evidence of your condition to receive such benefits, and others if necessary, could prove problematic. Fortunately, like dealing with your PTSD, you do not have to go through the claims process alone.


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