First Responders in PA may soon be able to access workers comp for PTSD

13 May 2024- A widely bipartisan group of Pennsylvania House legislators have voted in favor of letting first responders access workers compensation benefits after traumatic incidents.

House Bill 1632 received strong bipartisan support, passing 154-46. The bill outlines that for a first responder to qualify, the injury would have to be brought on as a result of the first responder’s job duties and the individual would have to have received a PTSD diagnosis from a licensed medical or mental health professional.

“I fundamentally believe that this bill will help first responders and save workers’ lives,” Rep Jennifer O’Mara said. O’Mara, a Democrat from Delaware County, is the prime sponsor of the bill.

“My dad was a firefighter in Philadelphia – he was my hero – and he died by suicide in 2003. First responders are heroes, but they’re not superheroes. We need to make mental health care more accessible to prevent tragedies like the one my family went through.”

House Bill 1632 would make PTSD an eligible claim by amending the Worker’s Compensation Act. If enacted, Pennsylvania would be the 26th state to provide workers’ compensation benefits to first responders suffering from PTSD.

The bill’s other co-prime sponsors are House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Majority and Minority Chairs Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Mark Gillen, R-Berks; State Reps. Tarik Khan, D-Phila.; Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; Tim Brennan, D-Bucks; and Jim Rigby, R-Cambria/Somerset.