A bill that would help first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is closer to becoming law in South Carolina.
Unlike a physical injury, mental illnesses or mental injuries are not covered under workers’ compensation.
House bill 3939 will allow first responders like firefighters and law enforcement to receive workers compensation if diagnosed with a stress-related and mental illness caused by a traumatic event while on duty.
State Rep. Tommy Pope of York County introduced the bill. He’s a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor.
Pope said his initial proposal focused on PTSD stemming from deadly force incidents.
“From my experience in law enforcement, what often happens is several of us could be involved in the same incident, but it may affect you differently than it affects me,” Pope said. “Some people could go right on and some people may never be able to work again.”