As discussed in our prior post, Bill Introduced to Help First Responders with PTSD, Florida's Workers' Compensation law does not cover psychiatric injuries without an accompanying physical injury. The law currently forbids, "payment of benefits under [the workers' compensation law] for mental or nervous injuries without an accompanying physical injury requiring medical treatment." Section 440.093(1), Florida Statutes (2015). Mr. Gerry Realin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was assigned to carry bodies out of Pulse nightclub but he was denied workers' compensation and retirement benefits due to the bar on psychiatric only injuries.
It seems that the State has taken a step in the right direction following the unanimous approval Mr. Realin's disability pension. Currently, Florida law only allows payment of early pension for physical injuries. However, the board unanimously agreed that Mr. Realin should receive the disability pension based on his diagnosis of PTSD and their findings that the PTSD was a permanent and total disability that was attributed to his response to the shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for Florida's legislature to amend the Workers' Compensation law to include psychiatric only injuries so that individuals such as Mr. Realin aren't forced to suffer with no support.