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In 2016, the SC General Assembly first approved funds to help first responders suffering from behavioral health issues caused by a stress related work incident. During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers approved an additional $500,000 to support public safety staff. This benefit covers paid employees and volunteers who serve as law enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency medical responders. The benefit provides coverage for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by first responders suffering a psychiatric or mental stress illness resulting from a single emergency incident or active engagement in multiple emergency incidents.

The first responder must be receiving care by a licensed physician, counselor or clinician, and the care must be appropriate for the condition causing the psychiatric or mental stress. The benefit also provides training and prevention opportunities to help save, protect, and retain first responders.

For benefit information and claim forms for law enforcement staff, contact Eric Skidmore with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program at 803.252.2664, 803.206.8961 or eskidmore@sled.sc.gov.

To access this benefit information and claim forms for firefighters or emergency medical responders, contact Zorrina Harmon with the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association at 803.807.1099 or zorrina@scfirefighters.org.