A work-related injury leads to a struggle for Iowa unemployment benefits

A work-related injury leads to a struggle for unemployment benefits

If you have an injury that makes you unable to do your work, you could easily find yourself out of work.  But to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Iowa, you have to be able to work.  So can you get unemployment benefits or not?

The answer is supposed to be yes.  The rule is that you must be “physically and mentally able to work in some gainful employment, not necessarily in the individual's customary occupation, but which is engaged in by others as a means of livelihood.”  So while you might not be able to work at your old job, if some job exists in the labor market that you could perform, you can be considered able under the law.

So the case of Sean Meyers, a hardworking drywall installer whose employment was terminated after a work-related injury made him unable to do his job, is pretty surprising.  He was denied unemployment benefits partially on the basis that he was unable to work.  An administrative law judge decided that because Mr. Meyers’s injury made him unable to work as a dry wall hanger, he was unable to work at all.

Because we don’t have the full record of the case, we can only speculate as to what led to this decision.  It looks as if the administrative law judge assumed Mr. Meyers was unable to work at any job merely because he was unable to work at his current job, which doesn’t make sense legally.  Maybe Mr. Meyers didn’t have a lawyer—and maybe if he had, he would have been granted unemployment benefits.  If you are ever in a situation like Mr. Meyers, you would be well-advised to seek the help of an attorney.

I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you."  If we can help you call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at [email protected] and [email protected] We look forward to your call.

SourceDecided December 3, 2012. 

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