COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives today approved the budget for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

A highlight of the budget is a provision that would allow peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Currently, PTSD benefits are permitted only when there is an accompanying physical injury.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said the change is long overdue.

“We have first responders who are getting post-traumatic stress disorder because of their job. We also know they can’t get the support they need under Ohio’s current workers’ comp law. That changes under the legislation the House approved today,” Householder said. “It’s the right thing to do for people who are putting their lives on the line for us every single day."

Other provisions of the workers’ compensation budget, House Bill 80, include language requiring the state’s superintendent of industrial compliance to establish a test, consistent with that used by the Internal Revenue Service, to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor under Ohio’s workers’ comp, unemployment and income tax laws.

The legislation also includes $11 million to assist 25 counties in Southeast Ohio that received disaster declarations following a pair of floods over the past 18 months. 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the largest state-fund workers’ compensation system in the United States, and also one of the 10 largest underwriters of workers’ compensation in the country. The agency receives no state general revenue funding; workers’ comp coverage and the agency’s operations are funded through employers’ assessments.

The BWC budget now moves to the Senate for further consideration. It must be signed into law by June 30.

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