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PTSD Coverage For First Responders Could Expand Under New Bill

First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job may soon be eligible for more workers compensation benefits.

Democratic State Senator Victor Torres filed a bill Tuesday to allow first responders to get worker’s compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill makes PTSD and mental conditions more easily eligible, and it removes the requirement that first responders also be hurt physically.

Jessica Realin’s husband was diagnosed with PTSD after cleaning up the Pulse Night Club tragedy.

“I’m not naïve to not think we wont have some kind of struggle to push this through,” Realin said. “But at the same time, I don’t think the state of Florida is ready to have a bunch of first responders picketing and protesting.”

Florida is one of only a handful of states where workers compensation never covers PTSD for citizens. First responders with PTSD can get medical coverage, but not lost wages, unless they also have been hurt physically in an incident.

Gainesville Republican Keith Perry filed a similar bill that expands Florida’s current laws, but it doesn’t go as far as the new bill.

The changes come as lawmakers are looking to make cuts to the workers compensation program in the wake of big cost increases for businesses.