Iowa Senate OKs estimated $1.8M reduction to injured workers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has approved a bill to overhaul how workers are compensated for on-the-job injuries, sending the measure to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The legislation, which passed Monday night with only Republican support, reduces benefits for employees injured at work in Iowa. It decreases some coverage for shoulder injuries and permanent injuries impacting the whole body.

The bill is expected to decrease payouts from the state Workers’ Compensation Fund by about $1.8 million annually beginning in the 2018 budget year. A new retraining program is expected to increase some state costs.

Senate Democrats have accused Republicans of cutting costs at the expense of injured workers, while Republicans say the changes are necessary to reduce unnecessary lawsuits.

If signed into law by Branstad, the changes would go into effect July 1.