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Report: Cities Call Cost of PTSD Claims Unsustainable

  • State: Minnesota
  • Topic: NORTH
  • - Popular with: Insurance

A lobbyist for the League of Minnesota Cities said the cost of workers’ compensation claims and health insurance for police officers claiming duty disability retirement for post-traumatic stress disorder is not fiscally sustainable, according to a report by the Minnesota Reformer.

The state’s Public Employees Retirement Association administers a plan for police and firefighters allowing workers who retire before 55 because of a disability to receive 60% of their salary tax-free. If they also get workers’ compensation, they can earn as much as they did while working, according to the report. Cities must also continue to provide health insurance until age 65.

Legislators in 2019 amended state law to create a presumption that PTSD is job-related for disability claims. That followed a 2018 law that created a presumption that PTSD is occupational for workers’ compensation claims.

As a result, League of Minnesota Cities lobbyist Anne Finn said the public retirement program approves nearly all PTSD claims. The Reformer reports that the number of police and firefighters applying for disability tripled in the past fiscal year, with 79% saying they can’t work because of PTSD.

The workers then use the disability finding to support a work comp claim.

“They say, ‘But PERA approved it, so why are you challenging it?’” she said.

Finn said the costs of the combined benefits and the requirement to backfill positions are not sustainable.

Meanwhile, data provided by Dan Greensweig, the insurance trust administrator for the league, shows the majority of comp claims for PTSD are denied. According to the report, the league denied 86% of PTSD comp claims filed since 1994 and denied 94% of PTSD comp claims filed since January 2019.

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