Every year since 2016, the South Carolina General Assembly has appropriated $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment services for first responders. In the 2021-2022 budget, these services are funded with recurring funds. $250,000 is allocated to the SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program for police officers, and $250,000 is allocated to the SC First Responders Assistance and Support Team for firefighters.
The state-funded PTSD program provides an insurance policy for first responders that reimburses out-of-pocket treatment expenses so officers and firefighters can focus on getting well without worrying about their healthcare bills. This is a valuable plan, considering many health insurance policies cover mental health benefits at a lower rate than regular medical benefits.
With the PTSD program, firefighters and police officers can get the medical services needed to allow them to get back to their jobs. Connecting those whose jobs put them in contact with mental trauma with all available resources can help them so they can get back to a healthy life.
For anyone looking to connect first responders with this assistance, the best place to start is to contact the city's benefits coordinator or find out more about assistance for law enforcement and firefighters by contacting Zorrina Harmon of the SC State Firefighters Association at 803.454.1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.