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New workers’ compensation law slashes benefits

A new workers’ compensation law was signed by Governor Branstad that changes the benefits Iowa workers are afforded when injured on the job. According to U.S. News, the new law goes into effect on July 1, 2017. This will affect workers across the state who suffer from shoulder injuries, as they will see a decrease in overall benefits.

According to The Des Moines Register, $1.8 million has been cut from the Workers’ Compensation Fund annually. The law also includes language about a new training program for workers with shoulder injuries, and it is not clear how this new program will impact the Fund. What this means for Iowa workers who have been hurt on the job is that approximately 176 fewer shoulder injuries will be covered each year.

The law also changed in regards to benefits that will be given for permanent partial disability claims. This entire category was slashed by $1 million, and the interest paid has also been reduced down to 5.5 percent. This means that workers who are injured on the job with this specific claim keeping them from returning to their previous work will have fewer benefits to receive.

While those in favor of the law believe that these changes help small businesses, many opponents believe this comes at the expense of vulnerable workers. As the Register notes, workers’ compensation claims in Iowa actually decreased last year, and costs for business have remained steady. As this law goes into effect, Iowans will be able to judge how this helps or hurts their families.

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