FAQ: Filing When You Can't eFile on WCES

The Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) requires the electronic filing (eFiling) of documents in contested case proceedings on the Workers' Compensation Electronic System (WCES).

This page has information about when and how to file documents with the DWC when you can't eFile on WCES.

Nothing on this webpage supersedes the Iowa Code, Iowa Administrative Code, (IAC), orders and decisions of the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner, or opinions of Iowa courts. The rules that govern filing with the DWC are in Chapter 876 of the IAC.

To view and download a PDF of the information on this page, click here.

For more information about eFiling on WCES, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Whose responsibility is it to ensure than a document is filed timely?

It is the filer's responsibility to ensure that a document is filed timely.

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When can you file a document by means other than eFiling?

If the DWC has not granted you an eFiling exception, you may file a document by means other than eFiling when:

  1. Filing the document by means other than eFiling is necessary to prevent the filer from missing a jurisdictional or nonjurisdictional deadline; and
  2. There is a technical failure in WCES or problem attributable to the file (such as telephone line problems, problems with the filer's internet service provider, hardware problems, software problems, etc.) that prevents the filer from timely eFiling the document under a deadline.

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How can you file a document by means other than eFiling?

If you can't timely eFile a document because of a technical failure or problem attributable to the filer, you should file the document using the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means.

Electronic Means

Electronic means of filing when a filer cannot timely eFile are:

  • Facsimile to:  515-281-6501
  • Email at:   

Nonelectronic Means

Nonelectronic means of filing when a filer can't timely eFile are:

  • Hand-delivery to the DWC at:  150 Des Moines St., Des Moines, IA 50309
  • U.S. Mail to the DWC at:  Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation, 1000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319

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Can you be excused for missing a jurisdictional deadline?

A filer is not excused from missing a jurisdictional deadline because of:

  1. A technical failure, including a failure of WCES; or
  2. Problems attributable to the filer (such as telephone line problems, problems with the filer's internet service providers, hardward problems, software problems, etc.).

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CAn a Jurisdictional deadline be extended? 

Jurisdictional deadlines, including but not limited to any applicable statute of limitations, cannot be extended.

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Can you be excused for missing a nonjurisdictional deadline?

Technical Failure in WCES

If you're unable to meet a nonjurisdictional deadline because of a technical failure in WCES, you must file the document using the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means.

The DWC will accept the filing of the document as timely unless the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner or a deputy commissioner determines that the untimely filing of the document should not be excused.

Problems Attributable to the Filer

You are not excused from missing a nonjurisdictional filing deadline because of problems associated to the filer (such as telephone line problems, problems with the filer's internet service provider, hardware problems, software problems, etc.).

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What is an eFiling exception?

An eFiling exception allows you to file documents in a case by means other than eFiling.

The DWC may grant an eFiling exception for good cause, such as a power outage at your home or office.

An eFiling exception may be fore part or all of the duration of a case for good cause.

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How do you request an eFiling exception?

You may request an eFiling exception by completing and filing with the DWC an Application for eFiling Exception (Form 14-0177). To view and download the form, click here.

The DWC encourages you to download the form and save it so that you can access it regardless of any issues with the DWC website, your internet connection, your computer, etc.

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Should you file a document by means other than eFiling if you will not miss a deadline by waiting to file and the DWC has not granted you an eFiling exception?

If you will not miss a deadline by waiting to file a document and the DWC has not granted you an eFiling exception, you should not file a document by means other than eFiling.

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Examples

Example 1

An attorney’s internet is not working because of an outage in service relating to the internet provider. The attorney has a brief due that day.

Using the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means, the attorney should file the brief and an Application for eFiling Exception with the DWC.

Example 2

A natural disaster hits the town in which an attorney’s office is located, knocking out internet service for the attorney. The attorney had planned to file an answer to a Form 100 Original Notice and Petition that day.

The attorney may file an Application for eFiling Exception with the DWC until the attorney’s internet provider restores internet service to the attorney’s office. Because the answer is not subject to a jurisdictional or nonjurisdictional deadline, the DWC will not accept the answer if it is not eFiled on WCES and an exception to eFiling has not been granted. Therefore, the attorney should not file the answer until after receiving an exception to eFiling or until the attorney is able to eFile the answer on WCES.

Example 3

A power outage makes it so that an attorney cannot eFile documents on WCES. The attorney wants to file settlement documents with the DWC for approval.

The settlement documents are not subject to a jurisdictional or nonjurisdictional deadline. Therefore, the DWC will not accept them if they are not eFiled on WCES. The attorney should not file the settlement documents using the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means. The attorney should see if opposing counsel can eFile the settlement documents on WCES or wait until the utility company restores power to the attorney’s office and eFile the settlement documents on WCES then.

Example 4

The computers in an attorney’s office are infected by a virus, so the attorney cannot eFile on WCES. The attorney has a nonjurisdictional deadline to respond to a motion due that day.

Using the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means, the attorney should file the resistance and an Application for eFiling Exception with the DWC so that he can file documents with the DWC by means other than eFiling until the virus issue is resolved.

Example 5

The IT person at a law firm forgets to update the firm’s computers with the latest version of software. The lack of updated software prevents an attorney from being able to eFile on WCES. The attorney had intended to eFile a motion to amend a pleading before the software problem. The hearing is not for 12 months.

The motion is not subject to a jurisdictional or nonjurisdictional deadline at the time of the software problem, so the DWC will not accept the motion if it is filed by the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means other than eFiling on WCES. The attorney should file an Application for eFiling Exception or wait until the software problem is resolved and then eFile the motion on WCES. If the DWC grants the attorney’s Application for eFiling Exception, the attorney may then file the motion by the earliest available electronic or nonelectronic means other than eFiling on WCES.

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