Suffering a work injury can leave Iowa employees and their families in a difficult situation. When the injury forces an employee to miss work, the lost income can cause significant stress during an already frustrating time. As injured workers and their families focus on healing from the injury, they should not have to deal with this added financial pressure. The Iowa workers’ compensation system, like others across the country, offers payment for medical care and wage loss to prevent unnecessary hardship and aid in the employee’s return to work. Here, we take a look at the timelines related to these payments. Find out more about your benefits, what you can expect after a work injury, and what to do if your compensation is not being appropriately managed.
Payment Start Dates Depend on the Nature of the Work Injury
Each state sets its own specific rules about workers’ compensation benefits and payment. In Iowa, payment commences at different times depending on the type of injury and the amount of work missed (and expected to miss). The state has set the following start dates for each type of benefit:
- Temporary partial disability – On the fourth day of disability after the injury. If more than 14 calendar days of work are missed due to the injury, the initial three days will be paid.
- Temporary total disability – On the fourth day of disability after the injury. If more than 14 calendar days of work are missed due to the injury, the initial three days will be paid.
- Permanent partial disability – On the first after the termination of the Healing Period benefits.
- Permanent total disability – On the date of the injury.
- Healing period – On the first day of disability after the injury.
- Death benefits – On the date of the employee’s death.
If Your Workers’ Comp Payments Are Late or Don’t Arrive at All
The state understands the hardship that injured workers and their families can experience during this time. As a result, the state workers’ compensation commission supports prompt payment of benefits. The law requires weekly payments be offered starting on the 11th day of the disability. It is typically necessary to provide verification of the injury from an employer and medical provider before payments begin, but those parties often provide these documents.
If benefits are not paid to an injured worker when they are due, the employer or its insurance company may have to pay interest to the worker. Additionally, if payments are inappropriately withheld or habitually late, the employer or its insurance company could face further fines and penalties, all of which would be paid directly to the injured worker.
If you think your employer is not paying the benefits you deserve, or if your payments are late, it is important to take action as soon as possible. In many cases, the issue can be resolved by addressing the employer or insurance company directly. At times, though, it can be necessary to take the matter up with the state commission. In either event, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured workers understand their rights and present their case effectively and thoroughly, ensuring prompt payment of the maximum compensation they deserve.
Termination of Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Once workers’ compensation payments have begun, they will continue to be paid to an injured worker until certain conditions exist, including:
- The employee has returned to work.
- The employee is medically capable of returning to work.
- The employee is not expected to make significant medical improvement from the injury.
Benefits can be terminated immediately upon a return to work. However, the employer or insurer must give 30 days’ notice of termination of benefits, including a specific reason for the termination, if the benefits will end based on a medical opinion.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have already filed a claim, and you are concerned about the timeliness of your payments, the experienced attorneys at Pothitakis Law Firm can help. Call our office today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about your rights and options as an Iowa worker.