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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

What Is PDA in Workers' Compensation?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences a terrifying event. In workers' compensation, PDA stands for Psychogenic Disability Accommodation. It is also known as employee accommodation for mental or personal stress leave.

If the employee has post-traumatic stress disorder, their job may not be the best fit. They might also need accommodation in their worker's comp case to focus on recovery instead of worrying about meeting work obligations.

Different states have different laws regarding these modifications, but generally, they are available to any employee who wants them and is found eligible. Employees may also be eligible for FMLA, learn about what qualifies for FMLA in Iowa.

Criteria For A PD Accommodation?

What Are the Criteria for Receiving a PD Accommodation?

The first thing employees can understand about PD accommodations is that workers comp will not offer them one unless they have a legitimate reason for needing one.

When determining if they are eligible for an employee accommodation, workers comp will consider several factors, including the severity of their symptoms, how long they have been going on, and their ability to function while they are present.

If their diagnosis is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, the person will likely have to show that they are experiencing occupational stress due to their condition. That is why it is so important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a traumatic event because the sooner person gets diagnosed, the sooner they can get the help they need. Injuries of force can cause serious trauma, learn how to prove cumulative trauma.

PD Accommodations in Workers' Comp

If the employee has a PD and needs an employee accommodation, they will likely receive one of the following:

  • Modified work schedule - changing their plan to times when they are less stressed.

  • Change in job duties - removing them from stressful tasks.

  • Temporary change in supervisor.

  • Change in the work environment - moving them to a quieter, less-crowded location.

  • Transformation in medical leave - extending their leave time.

  • Modification in financial benefits - increasing their worker's comp benefits to account for lower income.

  • A shift in psychological support - continuing to see their psychologist without fear of losing their ability to work.

  • Change in their end date.

Workers comp may also offer PD accommodations for other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, depression, and general anxiety.

How Employees Can Request PDA

How Employees Can Request a PDA Accommodation in Workers' Comp

Workers can request an employee accommodation in their worker's comp case. When they do, the employee will need to let their employer know they are requesting accommodation for mental stress and what specific assistance they would like. Including any supporting documentation from their psychologist, like diagnosis and treatment notes, is a good idea.

The person's employer will likely have to consult their worker's comp insurer about the accommodation before granting it. If they receive a PD accommodation, their employer will probably ask them to sign a paper confirming they are informed of the change - this will prove that the employee received it.

Furthermore, they should remember that employee accommodation is not a guaranteed right. A person's employer is not obligated to offer them one, even if they have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. It is always good to contact Des Moines work injury attorneys to help fight for your needs.


The most important thing for an employee to remember is that they are not alone. Trauma coming from factors such as a car accident or sexual assault can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people who experience trauma go on to develop PTSD, and many of them are also on the job.

Select provinces now provide particular workers' compensation protection for some employees who have PTSD. If this is the case, they should speak with their union representative, who will advise them on whether filing a workers' compensation claim is suitable.

Some provinces also cover workplace violence, harassment, stress, and psychological harm; submitting a claim for worker's compensation may be appropriate if these are significant factors in their member's circumstances.

Furthermore, according to estimates, more than five million workers are thought to experience PTSD at some point each year. PDA accommodations are available for those who need them, but it is essential to understand what workers can request.

If they are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, it might be time to start thinking about changing jobs or taking time off to focus on recovery.

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