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FAQ: Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC)

OVERVIEW

This page contains frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC).

LEGAL ADVICE

The FAQ pages are intended to provide general information about the Iowa workers' compensation system. For resources to help you get legal advice, click here.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FAQ

What department is the DWC in?

The DWC is located in Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) through June 30, 2023. On July 1, 2023, the DWC will become part of the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing (DIAL).

Who is the head of the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC)?

The Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner is the head of DWC.

For more information about the Commissioner, click here.

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What is the DWC?

DWC is a division within a State of Iowa government agency. It performs the following services:

  • Administers the Iowa workers' compensation system
  • Serves as the neutral tribunal in Iowa workers' compensation cases

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Does the DWC pay work comp benefits?

No, DWC does not pay work comp benefits.

For more information about benefits, click here.

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How does the DWC resolve disputes about work comp benefits?

Generally, an injured worker will start a contested case by filing a petition with DWC. A neutral deputy workers' compensation commissioner will preside over the case. The DWC will hold a hearing at which all parties will have the opportunity to present evidence. After the hearing, the deputy will issue a decision. All parties have the right to appeal the deputy's decision to the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner.

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How does the DWC hold hearings for cases?

Arbitration Hearings

Arbitration hearings are the most common type of hearing. Typically, DWC holds arbitration hearings using live internet-based video.

DWC also holds arbitration hearings in person. DWC holds in-person arbitration hearings periodically in each of Iowa's judicial districts and at the DWC office in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Alternate Care Hearings

DWC holds alternate care hearings by telephone unless a party requests an in-person hearing. All in-person alternate care hearings are held  at the DWC office in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Can the DWC provide legal advice or representation?

As a divison of a state agency charged with administering the workers' compensation system and serving as the neutral tribunal for work comp disputes, DWC cannot:

  • Give legal advice to parties
  • Represent a party
  • Refer a party to an attorney

DWC will work to ensure that all parties get a fair hearing regardless of whether the party is represented by an attorney. You should seriously consider getting legal advice or representation if you are a party to a work comp case.

For resources to help you get legal advice or find an attorney, click here.

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How does the DWC enforce Iowa workers' compensation law?

DWC compliance administrators are the agency's representatives on compliance issues. 

For more information about DWC's compliance administrators, click here.

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How do you file a First Report of Injury (FROI) with the DWC?

You may file a FROI with DWC using the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

For more information about EDI, click here.

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How do you file documents in a contested case before the Dwc?

A party or the party's attorney must use the Workers' Compensation Electronic System (WCES) to electronically file (eFile) documents in cases before the agency.

For more information about eFiling on WCES, click here.

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Does the DWC approve settlements of work comp claims?

Yes, DWC must review and approve the parties' settlement of a work comp claim to ensure it complies with Iowa law.

For more information about work comp settlements in Iowa, click here.

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Does the DWC pay unemployment insurance benefits?

No, DWC does not pay unemployment insurance benefits. DWC has no role in the Iowa unemployment insurance system.

The Division of Unemployment Insurance Services at Iowa Workforce Development administers the Iowa unemployment insurance system. That includes paying unemployment insurance benefits.

For more information about the Iowa unemployment insurance system, including the payment of unemployment insurance benefits, click here.

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More Info

For more information about workers' compensation in Iowa, click here.