If you work as a first responder in Connecticut, your ability to receive workers’ compensation just became easier. Governor Ned Lamont’s office explains that as of July 1. 2019, Connecticut’s new law allows you to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits therefor if your physician diagnoses you with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a grim event in the course of your duties, whether or not you sustained a physical injury at the same time.

The law applies to you if you work as one of the following:

  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • Parole officer

Qualifying events

To qualify for this expanded workers’ compensation coverage, you must have done one of the following while working in the line of duty:

  • Witnessed a person die
  • Witnessed a person with an injury so severe that (s)he died shortly afterward
  • Treated a severely injured person who died shortly afterward
  • Carried a severely injured person who died shortly afterward
  • Witnessed an event in which a person lost a body part, functionality or suffered permanent disfigurement
  • Viewed the remains of a deceased minor

Law’s history

After the horrendous Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, Connecticut legislators began recognizing the lasting mental and emotional effects that responding to such events often have on first responders like you. Many Sandy Hook first responders later reported that they had become plagued with such things as nightmares, intense flashbacks, severe anxiety and/or depression that made it difficult for them to cope or adjust for months or even years afterward. Legislators therefore set about updating and expanding Connecticut’s then-current workers compensation law that required a first responder to sustain a physical injury as well as a psychological one in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The ultimate result? Connecticut’s new law allows you to file a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD absent a physical injury.