NC lawmakers propose bill allowing first responders to get workers compensation for PTSD

NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina lawmakers have proposed a new bill that would allow first responders to  get workers compensation for post traumatic stress disorder, according to our news affiliate WLOS.

This includes firefighters, officers, paramedics, EMTs, and volunteer firefighters.

University of North Carolina researchers said 20 percent of Asheville firefighters self-reported behaviors associated with PTSD.

"PTSD isn't just a disorder. It's an occupational injury," Scott Mullins from the Asheville Firefighters Assocation said. "It's really hard for us when we deal with children on calls, especially when bad things happen to the kids, and I've had a number of those, unfortunately."

Recipients would have to be diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist and file the notice within 52 weeks of their diagnosis.

It could go into effect July 1st.

Last May, Channel 9 spoke with several local first responders who have struggled with PTSD.

Some area agencies including the Charlotte Fire Department offer support services for employees who need help.

Nationwide, only a few states cover PTSD under works compensation benefits. North and South Carolina do not.