Attention! Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation laws changed July 1, 2017. This article’s information may be out of date. Visit our Workers’ Compensation Page for more information.
If an employee is injured on the job in Iowa, he or she is likely entitled to at least one of three types of workers’ compensation benefits:
Employers must pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment caused by a work-related injury. This includes the actual cost of the medical treatment and reimbursement for travel-related costs associated with getting the worker to and from that treatment. It’s also important to know that a worker may be entitled to payments for wages he or she loses while getting this medical treatment.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If an employee misses time from work and loses wages while recovering from a work injury, then he or she may be entitled to some amount of temporary disability benefits.
Temporary disability benefits are paid at the injured worker’s weekly benefit rate.
A worker’s total weekly compensation benefit may not be greater than 80 percent of his or her spendable earnings.
Temporary disability benefits fall into one of three categories:
Temporary Total Disability
If an employee is off work over three days because of a work injury, the employee is entitled to temporary total disability benefits beginning on the fourth day and continuing until he or she returns to work or is recovered enough to return to similar work, whichever happens first.
Temporary Partial Disability
An employee is eligible for temporary partial disability benefits if he or she is still medically limited in what he or she can do because of the work injury (and therefore, still temporarily disabled), but is released to return to work in some partial or part-time capacity. The employer pays normal wages for the hours worked and workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wage and the actual wages paid by the employer.
An employee is entitled to healing period benefits while recovering from an injury which produces a permanent impairment. These benefits begin on the first calendar day after the injury and continue until one of the following occurs: (1) the employee returns to work; (2) the employee can medically return to work; or (3) the employee has reached maximum medical improvement from the injury, whichever occurs first.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If an injury causes a worker to suffer a permanent functional loss of part of his or her body, then the injured worker is entitled to some amount of permanent disability benefits. Permanent disability benefits are in addition to temporary disability benefits and begin when the worker reaches maximum medical improvement.
The amount of permanent disability benefits depends on:
- the body part affected
- the degree of impairment or disability
- the worker’s weekly benefit rate
If an employee is killed on the job, his or her dependents may be eligible to receive death benefits through the Iowa workers’ compensation system.
A surviving spouse may receive death benefits for life or until remarriage. Dependent children are entitled to death benefits until age 18 or, if actually dependent, age 25. Other persons may qualify for death benefits if they were actually dependent upon the deceased worker.
If a surviving spouse remarries and the deceased worker has no dependent children at the time of the remarriage, the surviving spouse is entitled to a two-year lump sum settlement.
In addition to weekly death benefits, the deceased worker’s employer must pay reasonable burial expenses not to exceed twelve times the statewide average weekly wage in effect at the time of death.
The only way to make sure that you are receiving what you should be receiving in permanent disability benefits is to consult with a qualified Iowa workers’ compensation lawyer. To find out the information you need to find the right Iowa attorney for your case, use the form on this page to download the entire Law Guide to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claims.