Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law
Often times, we receive questions from clients inquiring as to what exposure and/or obligations they have as to vocational rehabilitation benefits under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act. Vocational rehabilitation benefits vary from state to state. However, Iowa, like many states requires that as a condition precedent to receiving vocational rehabilitation benefits, the Claimant must have a work induced permanent disability. ICA § 85.70 is the statute the generally allows for benefits to be provided. However, please note that the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissiondoes not have the statutory authority to require an injured employee to participate in vocational rehabilitation benefits.
The Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commission has forms that must be filled out by a Claimant seeking vocational rehabilitation benefits. Concurrent with the request for vocational rehabilitation benefits, the Claimant must provide a medical report indicating the Claimant’s inability to return to gainful employment because of the permanent disability. If the employer disputes the Claimant’s request for vocational rehabilitation benefits, the parties may independently request a hearing before a Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.
However, vocational rehabilitation benefits under Iowa Workers’ Compensation law are somewhat limited in terms of exposure for employers. Pursuant to ICA § 85.70, the weekly payable benefits are payable at a rate of $100.00 per week while the employee is actively involved in a vocational rehabilitation benefits program for 13 consecutive weeks. The Claimant may request an extension for an additional 13 weeks upon showing that continuation would be beneficial in completing rehabilitation. However, please note that receipt of vocational rehabilitation weekly benefits does not preclude the Claimant from receiving any other workers’ compensation benefits that the same may be entitled to.
For questions regarding an employer’s obligation as to vocational rehabilitation benefits under Iowa Workers’ Compensation law, please contact Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Paul Barta at firstname.lastname@example.org or one other Iowa attorney’s at www.baylorevnen.com.