FAQ: Types of Disability Under Iowa Workers' Compensation Law

Overview

An employee who sustains a work injury may sustain a disability under Iowa workers' compensation law.

This page contains frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the types of disability in Iowa.

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.

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FAQ

What are the types of disability under Iowa workers' compensation law?

The following types of disability exist under Iowa workers' compensation law:

  • Scheduled member
  • Body as a whole

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What is a scheduled member?

Iowa law creates a schedule of body parts that are only compensated based on the functional impairment caused by a work injury. 

After the legislature amended the Iowa Workers' Compensation Act in 2017 to include the shoulder, the scheduled members are:

  • Thumb
  • First Finger
  • Second Finger
  • Third Finger
  • Fourth Finger
  • Hand
  • Arm
  • Great toe
  • Any other toe
  • Foot
  • Leg
  • Eye
  • Loss of hearing in one ear
  • Loss of hearing in both ears
  • Permanent disfigurement of the face or head
  • Shoulder

Before the legislature amended the Iowa Workers' Compensation Act in 2017 to include the shoulder, the scheduled members were:

  • Thumb
  • First Finger
  • Second Finger
  • Third Finger
  • Fourth Finger
  • Hand
  • Arm
  • Great toe
  • Any other toe
  • Foot
  • Leg
  • Eye
  • Loss of hearing in one ear
  • Loss of hearing in both ears
  • Permanent disfigurement of the face or head

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When is a shoulder injury considered to be to a scheduled member?

If a worker injured a shoulder before July 1, 2017, the injury is not considered to be to a scheduled member. If a worker injured a shoulder on or after July 1, 2017, the injury is considered to be to a scheduled member.

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What is a scheduled member disability?

Iowa law creates a schedule of certain body parts along with the number of week of benefits a worker would receive for the full loss of each member. 

The schedule for all injuries on or after July 1, 2017, is below.

Loss of Thumb:
60 weeks

Loss of First Finger:
35 weeks

Loss of Second Finger:
30 weeks

Loss of Third Finger:
25 weeks

Loss of Fourth Finger:
20 weeks

Loss of Hand:
190 weeks

Loss of Arm:
250 weeks

Loss of Great Toe:
40 weeks

Loss of Any Other Toe:
15 weeks

Loss of Foot:
150 weeks

Loss of Leg:
220 weeks

Loss of Eye:
140 weeks

Loss of Hearing in One Ear:
50 weeks

Loss of Hearing in Both Ears:
175 weeks

Permanent Disfigurement, Face or Head:
150 weeks

Loss of Shoulder:
400 weeks

Body as a Whole/Industrial Disability:
500 weeks

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How is permanent disability to a scheduled member determined?

If your injury is to a scheduled member your permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are based on functional impairment. The above chart gives a list of the scheduled body members (i.e. arm, leg, etc.) along with the number of weeks of benefits you would receive for the full loss of each member. If your impairment is less than a full loss, the number of weeks of PPD benefits you may receive is a percentage of loss or loss of use multiplied by the full number of weeks for the member.

For more information about disability benefits, click here.

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What is a body as a whole/industrial disability?

When a work injury results in permanent disability to a part of the body not listed as a scheduled member, the disability is considered to be to the body as a whole. This is also known as industrial disability.

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How is body as a whole/industrial disability determined?

A body as a whole disability is determined by assessing the difference between what the injured worker was able to earn prior to the injury and what the worker is able to earn after the injury by using the following factors:

  • Medical condition before the injury, immediately after the injury, and now;
  • The part of the body injured; 
  • How long the worker needed to recover from the injury;
  • The worker's past work experience;
  •  The worker's qualifications intellectually, emotionally, and physically to learn to perform other work;
  • The worker's earnings before and after the injury;
  • The worker's age;
  • The worker's education;
  • The worker's motivation;
  • The functional impairment caused by the injury; and
  • The worker's loss of ability to do the old job or loss of earnings because of the injury.

Each industrial disability case must be decided on its facts.

If the employer offers work at the same or greater wage, an injured employee is only entitled to the functional rating until terminated from employment.

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How is body as a whole/industrial disability calculated?

Body as a whole/industrial disability is calculated on a 500 week basis with the percentage rating multiplied by 500 weeks.

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What happens if the employee's body as a whole/industrial disability changes?

The employee may request a reopening and determination of body as a whole/industrial disability.

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Where can you get more info about disability benefits?

For more information about disability benefits under Iowa workers' compensation law, click here.

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More Info

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