Law Firm Blog

Gov Scott Signs First Responder Bill for PTSD

Governor Scott of Florida Signs a Bill for First Responders with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

There has been a landmark change signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott. The state of Florida will now cover incidences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under workers’ compensation insurance for first responders. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an illness that is brought about by a life-threatening, or especially frightening or dangerous experience. PTSD has only been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980.


While the most widely known cause of post-traumatic stress disorder is recognized as war, in actuality there are quite a few more factors that can cause an onset of the condition. Statistically, approximately 5 to 8% of the population, or 5 million people in the United States, will suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The highest of that group are victims of rape and combat veterans which make up 10 to 30% of those suffering from this affliction.

Other relevant causes of PTSD include witnessing or being a victim of traumatic events such as a severe accident, kidnapping, physical injury, natural disaster, robbery, assault, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, just to name a few on a very long list.

Under the new rules, first responders must meet one of the 11 conditions for their PTSD to be compensable under Florida’s workers’ compensation law. Some of these conditions include seeing a dead child, being a witness to a murder, and treating a severely injured person.


The symptoms, as well as the severity of symptoms, vary greatly among people living with PTSD. There are three groups of symptoms that are needed to diagnose an individual.

The first group involves recurrently re-experiencing the traumatic event. This group of symptoms may manifest themselves in the form of having flashbacks or bad memories and recurrent nightmares of the trauma.

The second group of symptoms are signs of avoidance to the point that it develops into a phobia. This phobia will cause the sufferer to be reminded of the trauma of places, people and even experiences that can be likened to the traumatic experience.

The third group of signs is physical. A person who has post-traumatic stress disorder will experience sleep problems and hyperarousal, hypervigilance to threats, blackouts, problems with memory, irritability, problems concentrating, anger and the propensity to be easily startled.

People living with post-traumatic stress disorder will sometimes be described as being “numb.” They may not be as easily excited by things that they once enjoyed. They may also have a constant feeling of uneasiness and impending doom. They may also be emotionally unattached and become more aggressive. The new bill will provide medical as well as paid leave for first responders who meet the eligibility requirements.

If you are a first responder looking for an attorney to represent you regarding your Florida workers’ compensation case, I am attorney Joseph Rooth, a Board Certified Florida workers’ compensation attorney. I have been in practice since 1994, and have helped many people receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. I handle all the paperwork for you. I appear at hearings by your side until we receive a fully-favorable decision. There are deadlines involved, so we have a limited time to act. Give us a call today at 727-849-3400, or contact us online.

roothlawyerGov Scott Signs First Responder Bill for PTSD
Read More

The Growing Number of Social Security Disability Claims in the United States

The Growing Number of Social Security Disability Claims in the United States


It is more than sixty years since Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was introduced, following an extensive discussion in Congress and executive agencies. The program has seen tremendous growth over the years – jumping to 5.2 percent of working-age Americans participating in 2015 — which has forced Congress to periodically rescue the program from collapse. The most recent measure was in 2015 when the Bipartisan Budget Act transferred funds from Social Security’s old-age survivor’s fund to extend the solvency of the disability fund through 2023.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance was first considered in 1936, when planners in the Social Security Administration discussed developing a program that could withstand the circumstances of the Great Depression. When disability was first defined, the definitions were strict. Lawmakers deliberately wanted to differentiate between disability and unemployment. The Social Security Disability program, which is funded by the Disability Trust Fund, is derived from payroll taxes. The program provides monetary benefits to disabled individuals who have made adequate contributions through FICA taxes. Benefits are based on the earnings record of the individual and benefits are not paid for the first five months after becoming disabled.

Recent growth in the program is attributed to an aging workforce and the addition of women in the workforce since the program’s inception. Economists also cite another reason for growth: workers who previously would have endured the physical pain of a job who are now applying for disability benefits when that job is no longer available.

Do I qualify for Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration uses an established evaluation process in determining whether an individual is eligible to receive disability benefits. Those under consideration must have a medical condition that meets their definition of disability. Generally, an individual is considered disabled if they are unable to perform the duties of the job they had prior to the illness or disability and they are unable to adjust to other work because of the medical condition. In making this determination, Social Security considers several factors, including age, work experience, education, and whether, given the national economy, the potential job exists in significant numbers. These decisions are guided by a table of established rules that evaluate how these factors affect an individual’s remaining capacity for work. An individual’s disability must be expected to last a minimum of one year or to result in death.

Contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer today

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is complicated and the process of presenting your case for receiving benefits is complex and time consuming. It is important to have experienced legal representation for the best possible outcome for your case. New Port Richey Social Security Disability attorney Joseph M. Rooth has been helping injured and disabled workers procure disability benefits for more than 25 years. Serving clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, with convenient offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater, attorney Rooth has extensive knowledge of the Social Security Disability program and is personally committed to each case. Contact the Rooth Law Firm today to schedule a free confidential consultation at 727-849-3400 or online.

roothlawyerThe Growing Number of Social Security Disability Claims in the United States
Read More