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Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law Update
2018 Legislative Changes to the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act
The 2018 legislature passed changes to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Statute for additional benefits to be paid to injured workers. Some of these changes go into effect in 2018 while others in 2019. Here is an overview of some of the changes made to Minnesota workers' compensation.
Occupational Disease/PTSD/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The changes to the statute create a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presumption for an employee who was employed on active duty as: a licensed police officer; a firefighter; a paramedic; an emergency medical technician; a licensed nurse employed to provide emergency medical services outside of a medical facility; a public safety dispatcher; an officer employed by the state of a political subdivision at corrections, detention or secure treatment facility; a sheriff or full-time deputy sheriff of any county; or a member of the Minnesota State Patrol.
If an employee in one of the listed occupations is diagnosed with a mental impairment of PTSD as defined by the most recently published edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) by the American Psychiatric Association and has not been diagnosed with PTSD previously, then the PTSD is presumptively an occupational disease that is presumed to have been due to the nature of employment.
Substantial factors known to the employer or insurer at the time of the denial of liability must be communicated to the employee on the denial of liability.
PTSD is not considered an occupational disease if it results from a disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, promotion, termination, retirement or similar action taken in good faith by the employer.
This is effective on or after January 1, 2019.
Temporary Partial Disability benefits Increased for Dates of Injury after 10/1/18
The maximum number of weeks that an employee is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits is increased from 225 to 275.
Permanent Partial Disability Amounts Increased for Dates of Injury after 10/1/18
The permanent partial disability schedule multipliers have been increased by 5%.
Rebuttable Presumption for Retirement Increased from age 67 to 72 for Dates of Injury after 10/1/18
Permanent total disability benefits currently cease when the employee reaches age 67 because the employee is presumed retired from the labor market. However, the amended subdivision now states that permanent total disability benefits cease at age 72. There is an exception provided for employees who are injured after age 67, whose permanent total disability benefits cease after five years after the date of injury.
Minnesota Treatment Parameters Rules for PTSD
The Commissioner, in consultation with the Medical Services Review Board, will adopt rules for the treatment of PTSD. The rules apply to employees with all dates of injury who received treatment for PTSD after the rules are adopted.
Minnesota Statute 176.231, Subdivision 9 was changed to allow the use of electronic signatures.
Keep in mind this is a summary of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law, which is very complex. The law considers many other factors involving a work-related injury. And then there are often roadblocks thrown up by an employer or its work comp insurer. There may also be options for compensation outside of workers’ comp, depending again on the circumstances of your injury.
If you have more questions, your next move should be to contact a “Know Your Rights” workers’ compensation attorney NOW.