Posted on: March 4th, 2022

If you’ve been injured at work or know someone who has sustained a work-related injury, it’s important that you know about the benefits available under Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation law. The following is an overview of the benefits available. 

Work Comp benefits include payment for medical treatments, four types of disability benefits, medical benefits, mileage/travel reimbursement and potentially loss of earning capacity (industrial disability) benefits. This article addresses the 4 types of disability benefits.  The disability benefits must be paid by the employer on a weekly basis. If the benefits are not paid to the worker in a timely fashion, the employer may have to pay penalties. 

Four Types of Work Comp Disability Benefits 

Injured workers who are unable to work while recovering from an injury may be entitled to one of the following types of disability benefits. Please note that an accurate calculation of the weekly amount is critical to ensuring that injured workers receive the compensation they are entitled to receive. Wertz Law often becomes involved in correcting weekly benefit amounts for injured workers and ensuring timely payment of their benefits. 

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) — When an employer-approved doctor orders you to be off work for more than three days, even if they are not consecutive days, you are entitled to TTD benefits. Other physician-ordered restrictions can also trigger TTD. Learn more.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) — Employers sometimes offer lower wages when injured workers return to work because they can only perform light duty tasks, or you may be restricted to working fewer hours. If you return to work and make less, even if it is because you can’t work overtime, TPD helps compensate you for the loss of income. 

Once an injured worker has reached the end of treatment, which is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), then they may be entitled to permanency benefits.    

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) — Sometimes an injured worker never fully recovers from their injury and is left with some level of permanent disability. Payment of PPD requires a functional impairment rating to be assigned by a physician based on a full evaluation. To learn more about the complexities of PPD and the length of time you can receive weekly PPD payments in Iowa for specific injuries, see our PPD table on the monetary benefits page. 

In addition to the impairment rating, some injuries — NOT ALL — may qualify for additional PPD benefits beyond the rating if a workers’ earning capacity and ability to earn a living has been reduced by the injury. 

Permanent Total Disability — If you cannot return to work and earn a gainful living as a result of the injury, you may be entitled to total disability benefits. If you believe you are permanently and totally disabled, you may have to seek legal counsel to get benefits beyond the impairment rating. Insurance companies and employers rarely volunteer this compensation. 

Mileage and Travel Reimbursement Benefit 

Injured workers are entitled to have all authorized and related medical treatment paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier – including prescriptions. They are also entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses for treatment for the work injury. Even short trips to the doctor can add up when you are injured. Keep track of your mileage and be sure to request reimbursement for all appointments related to a work injury. If you are unable to drive due to the injury, the employer or insurance company should provide you with transportation to and from medical appointments and to and from work, in some cases. 

We encourage you to spread the word to others about the different types of benefits for Work Comp injuries. 

Please remember, if you get hurt on the job, report the injury immediately to your employer and begin documenting the event and all medical treatment related to the injury. You may also wish to contact a Work Comp attorney at Wertz Law to ensure you get the treatment and benefits you are entitled to receive. Contact us to learn more.