Why do service members and first responders have trouble getting benefits for PTSD in Kentucky?

Service members and first responders put their lives on the line to protect and assist fellow citizens. These essential workers and soldiers may sacrifice their bodies in the line of duty and require compensation after an injury.

However, invisible harm can occur that is hard to quantify. The mental toll of doing this work can create debilitating post-traumatic stress disorders, but many individuals struggle to get benefits to address this issue.

The effects of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD can vary among sufferers and are difficult to relieve. The brain is one of the least understood parts of the body due to its complexity and the inability to dissect and study it while in action.

However, service members and first responders have commented extensively on the effects of PTSD. The Mayo Clinic highlights behavioral, psychological, emotional and mood problems. Many patients cope with insomnia and nightmares.

While these challenges may not correlate to a physical injury, the consequences can make it difficult to hold a job.

The excuses for denying benefits

First responders and guard members supposedly can receive coverage for on-the-job injury from either the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Disability Insurance or workers’ compensation. However, the VA denies National Guard members whose condition of PTSD resulted from state active duty orders.

SSDI has cases where it determines PTSD injuries are not severe enough to prevent a person from working, though the facts demonstrate otherwise. Unfortunately, Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws require a psychological, psychiatric or stress-related change to result directly from physical injury before offering coverage.

Lawmakers have presented bills to address this problem, but none have passed. Until regulations change, first responders and service members with PTSD must pursue other options to secure the compensation that can assist them.