By Associated Press:
First responders being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder could soon have extended benefits under a bill passed Monday by the Florida Legislature.
The state House of Representatives voted unanimously for legislation (SB 376) to extend workers’ compensation benefits for those being treated for PTSD. Currently, workers’ compensation benefits only cover physical injuries.
The bill passed the state Senate last week and now heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.
“Not all wounds are physical. We’ve broken down barriers and stigma in the military pretty well but we need to do a lot here for first responders. This bill goes a long way toward doing that,” Rep. Danny Burgess said.
The House sponsor was Democratic Rep. Matt Willhite, whose fulltime job is serving as a captain at Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Willhite said there are things he has seen in his 23-year career that he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy.
“Whether they cover car crashes, shootings or the death of a child those are not things that are easy to deal with,” Willhite said. “And even though we signed up for the job we knew we would see some terrible things. We didn’t expect the toll it would take on us.”
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