Our state’s first responders are involved with on-the-job incidents each day that are more than the average person can imagine. What they witness and the situations they deal with take a toll on their mental health and it’s more important than ever to support those who protect us and ease the stigma of getting help. We’re honored to have a relationship with the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) and happy to be a resource to their members with Minnesota workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claim needs.
The MPPOA understand that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is creating a mental health crisis among police officers and other first responders. That is why they made it a focus of discussion at their Union Presidents Meeting, held November 12, 2019. Due to his extensive experience securing benefits for workers with PTSD, Ron Meuser of Meuser Law Office, P.A. was invited to speak at the annual meeting. Both organizations have a common goal in getting police officers the help they need to prevent PTSD. This set the stage for an open, honest discussion that included brainstorming solutions.
Founded in 1922, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association is the largest association representing public safety professionals in the state. MPPOA members include municipal police officers, county deputy sheriffs, correctional officers and other public safety officials serving the state of Minnesota. The MPPOA works to pass laws that support public safety and is a legislative voice to improve the working conditions and retirement benefits for public safety professionals and their families.
With approximately 30 MPPOA local Union Presidents and staff in attendance, Ron’s presentation centered around the fact that post-traumatic stress disorder is a compensable work-related injury, yet it’s still an extensive process to secure benefits. Topics included:
- What exactly PTSD is
- How it is diagnosed and how to go about reporting your injury
- What can be done to help police officers who are experiencing PTSD symptoms before they are required to leave the force.
- The steps required to coordinate workers’ compensation and PERA for individuals with work-related PTSD
- Potential ideas for future legislation to improve mental health care for law enforcement officers.
Discussion about benefit qualification requirements and some trends we are seeing in our work comp, PERA and PTSD cases included a Q & A, along with overall observations of the culture and the system.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is finally being recognized as a serious problem for Minnesota’s law enforcement officers. Since October 2013, Minnesota workers’ compensation laws now include PTSD as a compensable injury, as does PERA and MSRS for purposes of Duty Disability benefits and Continuation of Healthcare Benefits in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 299A.465. The workers’ compensation act was amended to include that there is now a presumption for first responders that their PTSD is work-related, effective January 1, 2019. A first responder’s PTSD still must meet the criteria set forth in the DSM-V and be diagnosed by a doctor of psychology or a medical doctor working in a related field. We have been litigating PTSD claims for more than a decade and our track record speaks for itself.
Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few law firms in the state of Minnesota that handles workers’ compensation, PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of the state’s first responders for both work comp and PERA/MSRS disability cases and help to secure eligible benefits, including 299A.465 healthcare continuation. Sitting down with us to learn more about the timing and process of filing your potential claim due to PTSD is important. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help you navigate an often-complex process. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-877-746-5680.