The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a deputy sheriff who received workers’ compensation benefits after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder was not entitled to continue receiving benefits after his diagnosis changed.
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed with the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, which reversed a compensation judge’s decision allowing the deputy to continue receiving benefits after the change in diagnosis.
The deputy, employed by Mower County from November 2007 to March 2020, argued that he should have been entitled to continued compensatory benefits because he remains disabled due to a mental illness.
A doctor had re-evaluated the deputy and determined that he no longer met the criteria for PTSD.
The aide argued that even though he was no longer diagnosed with PTSD, he was still experiencing disability and should be entitled to benefits.
The compensation judge found the deputy to be temporarily totally disabled and awarded him benefits from April 1, 2020 to the present. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals reversed the order, finding that the deputy’s occupational disease was resolved, rendering him ineligible for continued benefits.
The state Supreme Court said that an employer’s liability for compensatory benefits ends when a worker is no longer disabled as a result of a work-related injury, and that the deputy in this case was no longer disabled for compensatory purposes after a doctor said he was no longer suffering. from PTSD.
The court ruled that while it is sensitive to “the well-being of Minnesota workers who experience mental illness,” it is up to the legislature to change the law about who may be entitled to benefits and under what circumstances.
In Minnesota, the court noted, the only mental disability that qualifies for workers’ comp is PTSD, and other disabling mental disabilities are specifically excluded from insurance coverage.