SC first responders push for workers compensation to cover mental health services

SC first responders push for workers compensation to cover mental health services

SOUTH CAROLINA — First responders suffering from post traumatic stress disorder are pushing for change in South Carolina.

Our news partners at WCIV in Charleston report a recent study found police and other first responders are five times more likely to suffer from PTSD than others.

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But, the disorder is not covered as an injury under workers compensation in South Carolina.

"There are first responders who have no idea that they're not covered until something happens," former Charleston County Sheriff's deputy Michael Ackerman said. "That's how I learned."

Ackerman said he worked with state lawmakers on a bill to get mental health coverage for first responders.

Despite bipartisan support, the bill failed in the Senate.

Throughout Governor Henry McMaster's time in office, his administration has set aside funds for first responders to receive mental stress management benefits as part of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

The program allows insured individuals to receive up to $15,000. It is not part of South Carolina's workers compensation.