PTSD and Psychological Injuries: Eligible Benefits

An officer looks down solemnly.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is a “mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” PTSD onset can be unpredictable: it may occur after a single event or several events; it may occur in response to a dangerous or harmful event that occurred to a loved one; or it may occur soon after the event or several months or even years after. Additionally, some individuals who face traumatic events do not develop PTSD.
Like any injury, PTSD takes time to heal and requires the help of trained medical professionals. If you have or believe someone you know has PTSD, it is important to get treatment. Understandably, the path towards treating PTSD is challenging. However, the attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A., can help make that road a little easier.

If you develop PTSD as a result of an exposure to traumatic events during the course and scope of public employment, then you may qualify for two separate benefits: PERA disability and workers’ compensation. For those with careers in high-stress environments, like police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers, these benefits could potentially be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Employees covered under the Public Employees Retirement Association (“PERA”) may be eligible for Duty Disability benefits or regular disability benefits. Duty and regular disability benefits through PERA have different eligibility criteria. However, both are available for either physical or psychological injuries, including PTSD.

Duty Disability is available to police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and some other positions. To be eligible for Duty Disability, the injury must injury have incurred during, or arise out of, the performance of inherently dangerous duties that are specific to the position. If you are eligible for Duty Disability, PERA calculates your benefit by averaging 60% of your monthly salary during the highest five consecutive years of earnings. Additionally, the money you receive from Duty Disability is non-taxable.

Regular benefits are available for PERA members with injuries expected to impact the performance of normal duties, even if the injury is non-work related. The employee’s duties do not need to be inherently dangerous. If eligible, the benefit award is 45% of your monthly average salary during the highest five consecutive years. Like Duty Disability, regular disability benefits are non-taxable.

Along with disability benefits, workers’ compensation may be available through PERA. If your PTSD injury occurred after October 1, 2013 and was caused by work-related exposures, you may be covered by workers compensation in Minnesota. Workers compensation provides a arrange of benefits, including: reasonable medical treatments and expenses to cure or relive the effects of your injury; wage loss benefits including disability benefits; permanent partial disability benefits which are available if you suffer a permanent impairment even if you are still able to work; and, vocational rehabilitation services like retraining and the costs of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC).

Since the onset of PTSD is caused by many different factors and can occur over a long time span, the date of injury is not always as clear as physical injuries. Being represented by the experienced attorneys at Meuser Law Office can help ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to so you can enter your PTSD treatment with some peace-of-mind.

Meuser Law Office, P.A. has successfully secured PERA Duty Disability benefits on behalf of a number of individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of in-the-line of duty psychological trauma. For a free, no-obligation legal consultation to learn about your rights, call Meuser Law Office, P.A. at 877-746-5680.