Determining Your Disability — Here's what You Need to Know

When you’ve been injured or made ill as a direct result of an on-the-job accident or the environment in your workplace, you’re entitled to medical care and financial assistance (not to exceed 80% of your weekly net income) under Iowa state law. Known as workers’ compensation, your employer is responsible for providing insurance to cover all employees for workplace injuries, regardless of who’s to blame. 

But when the doctors have done all they can do for your condition, and you’re still unable to work, or you can’t work like you once did, then what?

Your next step is a disability consultation. Dr. Stanley Mathew is our triple-board certified physiatrist here at American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and he specializes in evaluating at-work injuries and providing his expert disability rating to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation. 

When you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) and need an independent physician to officially rate your disability, come see Dr. Mathew. After a thorough examination and relevant medical tests, he determines your degree of impairment. Here are the types of disability rating you may receive. 

Temporary total disability

If you can’t work for at least three days due to your workplace injury, you start receiving worker’s compensation benefits on the fourth day. If you’re out of commission for two or more weeks, you can get paid for the first three days as well.

Temporary partial disability

Sometimes an injury makes it impossible to go back to the same job you had, but you can still perform other roles. If you take a pay cut because of this, you’re entitled to a percentage of the difference in wages.

Permanent partial disability

Although most workplace injuries and illnesses heal, some do not. If you’ve lost a finger or a limb, or if you’ve lost your eyesight or hearing, these are considered permanent partial disabilities. In these cases, you’re impaired for life, but you still may be able to work.

The state of Iowa has a predetermined benefits schedule that lists the number of weeks you’re eligible for payments for the loss of use of each body member, and it adjusts for the percentage of your lost function. 

If your whole body or your trunk (hips, shoulders, back, and neck) is involved, several variables go into determining your benefits, including:

Dr. Mathew’s expertise plays a critical role in these determinations that may affect your future in your chosen field, as well as for your compensation for lost wages.

Total permanent disability

If you can’t return to your job at all because of a severe injury or illness, Dr. Mathew may determine your disability is total and permanent. This means you may be entitled to benefits for as long as you have the disability.

No matter how mild or severe your work-related injury is, it’s important to seek medical attention and follow all the state guidelines. Your health and safety are the highest priority, and your financial future may depend on complying with the proper protocol during the process. Dr. Mathew is highly experienced and can help you navigate the medical and legal aspects of a workplace injury.

If you’ve been hurt at work, call us at 319-369-7331or request an appointment online today to schedule a disability consultation.

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