Current law makes it difficult for first responders in Wisconsin to receive workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD because benefits for PTSD are awarded only when an injured employee shows that PTSD resulted from a situation of greater dimension than the day-to-day mental stresses and tensions which all employees experience. This is known as the “greater dimensions” standard.
The “greater dimensions” standard is a steep burden for a first responder, because, although the stress they see on a day-to-day basis is far greater than the average Wisconsinite, it’s not greater than that of the average first responder.
Sen. Andre Jacque (R- De Pere) introduced a bill that will exclude first responders from the “greater dimensions” standard. The workers’ compensation advisory council supports the bill, but only if a licensed mental health professional links a PTSD diagnoses to the job.
There is bipartisan support for the bill and lawmakers are looking to pass it before their legislative session ends within the next two months.
Thanks to Partner Scott McCain for this legal update. Scott represents employers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio on behalf of I&F.