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Workers’ Compensation in Iowa: The Types of Benefits Available


There seems to be some confusion about the types of workers’ compensation benefits that are available to injured employees in Iowa. Therefore, the aim of this article is provide an overview of the various benefits that are available under Iowa’s workers’ compensation system. To make things as simple as possible, these benefits have been divided into the following three categories; medical benefits, disability benefits, and other benefits.

Medical Benefits

Under Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws (specifically section 85.27), qualifying injured employees are entitled to receive compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical care required to treat their injuries, plus any reasonable and necessary travel expenses incurred in order to obtain this medical care. Additionally, under some circumstances an injured employee who is required to leave work in order to receive this medical care may also receive payment for their lost wages.

Disability Benefits

When talking about workers’ compensation disability benefits in Iowa it is important to first note that injured employees who receive such benefits may not collect more than 80 percent of their “weekly spendable earnings” (i.e. the amount of money that the employee takes home each week after payroll taxes are deducted from their gross weekly earnings). Next, it must be noted that there are a number of different types of disability benefits available in Iowa, including (but not limited to):

  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits: An employee may be entitled to collect temporary total disability benefits if they are off work for more than three days on account of their injury. Temporary total disability benefits begin on the fourth day that the employee is absent from work and continue until the employee returns to work or has recovered enough to return to work, whichever occurs first.
  • Temporary Partial Disability Benefits: An employee who temporarily returns to work at a lesser paying position as a result of their injury may be entitled to collect temporary partial disability benefits. Such an employee is entitled to collect approximately 66 percent of the difference between their average gross weekly earnings before the injury and their actual earnings from the lesser paying job.
  • Healing Period Benefits: Employees who suffer an injury that causes permanent impairment may be able to collect healing period benefits from the day after the injury occurred until they return to work, recover as much as they are anticipated to recover, or are capable of returning to the same kind of work that they did before they were injured.
  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: When an injury results in either permanent functional impairment to an employee’s body, or renders the employee unable to earn wages similar to the wages that they earned before being injured, the employee may be entitled to collect permanent partial disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits can be collected in addition to healing period benefits and begins when the employee’s healing period ends.
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits: Injured employees who are unable to return to any type of wage earning employment may be able to collect permanent total disability benefits while they are unable to return to any type of gainful work.

Other Benefits

In addition to the medical and disability benefits outlined above, Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws also provide for second injury fund benefits (section 85.63-85.69), vocational rehabilitation benefits (section 85.70), and death benefits (section 85.28-85.44) under some circumstances.

Reach Out to Us for Help Today

Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws are complicated and at times can be confusing, but the Noyes Law Office P.C. is here to help. If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness in Iowa and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney feel free to give our Fairfield office a call toll free at (800) 875-7148 so that we can schedule a free no obligation consultation for you.


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