Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Quick links


Disclaimer: The information on this page is intended to help individuals, but it cannot be construed as legal advice. As with any public policy, there are a number of issues that the law and rules do not address, and law is always subject to interpretation. The Commission cannot offer individuals legal advice or offer advisory opinions. If you need a legal opinion, we suggest you consult your own legal counsel.

En español


  • The IWCC has received several questions about the impact of COVID – 19 on workers’
    compensation claims. The following Frequently Asked Questions are meant to generally address
    these concerns but should not be construed as legal advice. If you believe you have a workers’
    compensation claim, you may wish to seek legal advice.
    Click HERE for ​Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation Benefits.


IWCC Process

For employers

For employees

For attorneys

What is the history of workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation was the first social insurance enacted in the U.S., i.e., a government program where risks are pooled and benefits are legally defined.

The 1909 Cherry, Illinois coal mine fire, which killed 259 men and boys, and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which killed 146 people, mostly women and girls, were instrumental in the enactment of workers' compensation laws around the country.

Wisconsin passed the first constitutional workers' compensation law in 1911, followed closely the same year by Illinois. The Illinois law took effect in 1912.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the first law, the InternationalAssociation of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions created a blog with 100 reflections from people who have worked in or been affected by workers' comp.

How does the Family and Medical Leave Act interact with workers' compensation?

There is nothing in the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act that addresses the FMLA. Because the FMLA is federal law, we do not administer it and cannot advise individuals on it. For information, please contact the US Department of Labor.

What happens after I submit the Attorney Registration Form?

 You will receive a confirmation e-mail to the address provided in three to five business days. If you are concerned that you failed to receive an e-mail from us, first try these trouble-shooting procedures:

  • double-check the e-mail address you provided;
  • check on your spam, bulk and/or junk folders;
  • double-check your e-mail settings (e.g. filters, forwarding).

If you're still experiencing issues, contact Keywana McClinton at 312.814.6639.  For any other email registration questions or concerns, contact

 Email Registation Form

How do I submit video evidence to the Commission?

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission uses "VLC Media Player" for watching evidence that is submitted in "Video Format". Please submit video evidence in one of the following formats, MP4, WAV, WMV or AVI.

May I create copies of Commission forms on my computer?

Yes, if you make sure they are reasonably exact copies of ours in regard to wording, spacing, fonts, color of paper, etc. (Get as close as you can.) If you make your own forms, you are responsible for keeping them up to date. Improper forms will be returned to the filing party.

Note that the Social Security Number field was eliminated from the accident report, application, and settlement contract, a field to designate State employees was added, and the date of birth field is now mandatory on the application and settlement contract.

Before you make your own, check out our fill-in-the-blank forms on the Forms page.

May I file documents at the Commission's downstate offices?

Yes, except briefs and payments for appeals to the circuit courts. If you file an application or an original settlement contract, we cannot immediately give you a case number, but we will date-stamp the form to toll the statute of limitations.

What does it mean for a case to be above the red line?

Commission rules provide that cases that were filed three years ago or more must proceed to arbitration unless the parties show sufficient justification for continuance. These cases are referred to as "redline cases".  The Commission tracks whether a case is considered a "redline case" by calculating three years or more from the date the case is filed to the date of the status call for the case.

Section 9020.60 b) 2) D) i)  of the Commission rules allows an arbitrator to continue a case for three years; after that time, the arbitrator shall set the case for trial unless a party submits a written request to continue the case for good cause. The request must be received at least 15 days before the status call and contain proof of service on all parties to the case. An objection to the request, with proof of service, must be received by the arbitrator at least seven days before the call.

Please refer to the posted "Arbitration Procedures" for information on how Status Calls will be conducted. If the petitioner does not provide a written request and in the absence of good cause the case shall be dismissed for want of prosecution. Unless these provisions are met, the arbitrator shall set the case for trial. If the petitioner fails to appear without good cause on the trial date, the case shall be dismissed. If the respondent fails to appear without good cause, the arbitrator may conduct an ex parte hearing.

How many copies of the settlement contract should I submit?

The IWCC needs one contract for every case number listed on a contract, plus one more copy, plus any copies you want returned to you.If a contract lists two case numbers, for example, and you want to receive three back, send six.

If you enclose a cover letter, make sure you copy your opposing party. Otherwise, it could be an ex parte communication, and the arbitrator may return the contracts to you.

Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Make sure the contracts will fit in the envelope, and that you affix adequate postage.

Why was my settlement contract returned to me without being approved?

We receive over 40,000 settlement contracts each year. Unfortunately, many have errors in them and must be returned for correction. The most common problems found in settlement contracts are listed below. You can avoid delays by avoiding these problems.

    1. There is a computational error or the weekly benefit rate is incorrect;
    2. On contracts reproduced by attorneys, the contract is not an exact copy of the form in regard to wording, spacing, fonts, color of paper, etc.
    3. The date of approval by the arbitrator is already filled in;
    4. Signatures are missing;
    5. There is no return-to-work date;
    6. Attorney's fees exceed 20%;
    7. Information on the contract is altered and the parties failed to initial and date the changes;
    8. Current medical information regarding the petitioner's condition is lacking; or
    9. Blanks on the form are not filled in.
    10. Your coverletter did not copy the opposing party.

To prevent other problems from occurring, please keep the following points in mind:

    1. Make sure you send enough copies so the arbitrator can keep one more than the number of cases covered on the contract. For example, if two cases are closed on one contract, the arbitrator will need to keep three copies.
    2. If you want to receive a copy of an approved downstate contract, include a large enough self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage.
    3. If an arbitration decision has been appealed, the arbitrator no longer has jurisdiction. Take the contract to the assigned commissioner.

How can I determine the hearing site to which my case will be assigned?

By rule (Section 7020.50(b)), cases are assigned to the hearing site closest to the site of the accident. If the accident occurred outside of Illinois, the case is assigned to the site closest to the petitioner's home; if the petitioner lives outside of Illinois, the case is set at the site most convenient to the parties. The Accident Location Table(last revised 11/13/14) lists every town in Illinois and its hearing site.

How do I request security for a hearing?

Email the Chairman's Office at least one week before the scheduled hearing. Please provide your contact information, the time, date, and location of the hearing, as well as the case number, name of the person for whom security is requested, and the reason.

How can I get help accessing a hearing site?

All IWCC hearing sites are accessible by wheelchair. For inquiries regarding other accommodations, please contact Annette Roti in the Chairman's Office (312-814-7268).

How can I get a copy of a decision, approved settlement, or application?

Commission decisions beginning in January, 2014, are posted on the IWCC website. The website is updated as often as possible. For Commission decisions not on the website, please request as outlined below as you request settlement contracts.

For settlement contracts, if you are the petitioner, petitioner's attorney, petitioner's medical provider, respondent, or respondent's attorney, send an email to Allow at least 10 business days for a response.Please write “settlement contract request” in the subject section of the email. Please also only request one contract per email. Multiple requests contained in a single email may result in a delay in response.

For applications, if you are the petitioner, petitioner’s attorney, petitioner’s medical provider, respondent, or respondent’s attorney, send an email to Allow at least 10 business days for a response. Please write “Application request” in the subject section of the email. Please also only request one application per email. Multiple requests contained in a single email may result in a delay in response.

To file a FOIA request, submit your request through the IWCC FOIA portal by clicking here

For information on how to fill out the FOIA request form, click here.

Please do not send requests to multiple addresses! Do not send multiple requests! And do not request settlements that were approved within the past two weeks! These actions only create confusion and delays.

All documents are manually pulled and copied. Additionally, many IWCC files are stored at other state locations outside of Chicago. All requests will be processed and a response sent as quickly as possible.

My case was settled, but it still appears on the call sheets. What should I do?

If your case was settled but still appears on the call after three months, please email or mail a copy of the contract to James Gentry, Central Files Supervisor, in our Chicago office. In those rare instances where you cannot locate the contract, please complete the "Order Removing Settled Case from the Call" ( IC34s) form, and obtain the arbitrator's approval. You do not have to complete this form if you provide a copy of the contract.

How much does a transcript cost?

A transcript is a written record of a trial. The cost of transcripts is negotiated for all State court reporters (see Administrative Regulations); please note the figures that appear in the WC Act are outdated.

Currently, parties pay court reporters $4.00 per page for an original transcript. The first party to file a Petition for Review is liable for the cost of the original transcript. Copies cost $1.00 per page. Exhibits cost $0.50 per page for 1-50 pages, $0.40 per page for 51-100 pages, $0.30 per page for 101-200 pages, and $0.20 per page for over 200 pages.

Court reporters are to issue regular transcripts within 60 days after the date the Petition for Review was filed; transcripts for fatal, PTD, and 19(b) cases are due within 30 days; transcripts for 19(b-1) cases are due within 25 days. If a transcript is late, please contact the Supervisor of Court Reporters, Sara Swieca (312-814-5779).

Once a party orders a transcript, it is obligated to pay the court reporter, even if the case is settled and the transcript is no longer required. Payment is due within 30 days of the court reporter's written request for payment.

If a pro se petitioner cannot afford to purchase a transcript, he or she can file a Section 20 petition on the Notice of Motion and Order form. (Check "Other" and write "Section 20.") If the Commission finds that the petitioner is a poor person, the Commission may order payment of the transcript. If the petitioner receives an award, the employer will subtract the cost of the transcript out of the award, and reimburse the Commission.

What happens to arbitration decisions when they are appealed?

The petitioner appeals an arbitration decision hoping for an increase in benefits, but of those cases appealed by the petitioner, the commissioners let the benefits stand or decreased the benefits in 82% of these cases. Similarly, the respondent appeals in the hope of a decreased benefit, but of the cases appealed by the respondent, the commissioners did not decrease benefits 73% of the time.

Fewer and fewer cases go on to each level, as shown here.

Decisions and Appeals

Year Arbitration Decisions Issued % Appealed Commission Decisions Issued % Appealed Circuit Court Decisions Issued (est.) Appellate Ct. Opinions/Orders Issued Supreme Ct. Opinions Issued
2000 2,606 49% 1,162 31% 250-300 138 1-5
2005 3,578 52% 1,054 28% 250-300 106 1-5
2010 3,581 49% 1,503 26% 295 119 1
2011 3,171 55% 1,405 25% 218 140 0
2012 3,096 57% 1,410 29% 245 109 0
2013 3,326 57% 1,504 27% 219 128 1

Figures for the IWCC are by fiscal year; figures for the courts are by calendar year.

How do I calculate the interest due on arbitration awards?

Section 19(n) of the Act provides that interest accrues while an unpaid arbitration award is on appeal. If the worker prevails on review, interest is due.

There are a number of court cases that have ruled on the issue of calculating interest, and we advise parties to consult the case law. The Commission does not advise parties on how to make the calculation in individual cases. If there is a dispute over the interest, the parties can go to circuit court to enforce the award and/or file a petition at the Commission for penalties if they feel the amount has been incorrectly paid.

Please note that Section 8.2(d) of the law provides for a 1% per month interest charge on medical bills, payable to the medical provider. This provision is in addition to the 19(n) interest provision.

What are the various Commission timelines I need to know?

Click here for a list of timelines.

What is voluntary binding arbitration?

In voluntary binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s action is considered the final decision of the Commission. It offers a way to expedite cases.

If the only issues in dispute are TTD, PPD, or medical expenses, the parties may agree to submit the case to voluntary binding arbitration before one of the following arbitrators, who were recommended by the Workers' Compensation Advisory Board:

Arbitrator Paul Cellini

Arbitrator Gerald Grenada

Arbitrator Jeffrey Huebsch

Arbitrator Gerald Napleton

Arbitrator Dennis O'Brien

To request binding arbitration, submit Form IC36. The case will be assigned to the arbitrator's next status call.

For more information, see Section 19(p) of the Act and Section 7030.100 of the rules.

What is the state mileage rate?

Effective January 1, 2021 the state mileage rate is 56 cents per mile pursuant to the IRS

Can I contact my arbitrator or commissioner?

Contact with arbitrators and commissioners should be limited to scheduling. The best way to make contact is by sending an email with a copy (“cc”) to the other party. Commission rules (7020.10(b)) require that any correspondence addressed to the Commission related to a pending matter must be sent to all parties at the time it is sent to the Commission, and must list the parties to whom copies have been sent. One-sided or ex parte communication is prohibited.

If you must contact an arbitrator in person, you should appear at a scheduled status call and give proper notice to the other party in advance of appearing. If you must contact a commissioner in person, you should appear at a scheduled review call and give proper notice to the other party in advance of appearing.

Questions relating to general procedures or case status should be directed to the Public Information Unit  (312/814-6611); toll-free within Illinois (866-352-3033).

I just moved. Who do I tell?

Parties must maintain up-to-date, complete contact information with the Commission. If you move, submit a Notice of Change of Address form (IC26) for each open case number.

What does the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act require of employers?

Employers must:

    1. Obtain workers' compensation insurance or get permission to self-insure;
    2. Post a notice in each workplace that lists the insurance carrier and explains workers' rights:
    3. Keep records of work-related injuries and report to the Commission those accidents involving more than three lost workdays;
    4. NOT harass, discharge, refuse to rehire, or in any way discriminate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law;
    5. NOT charge the employee in any way for workers' compensation insurance premiums or benefits that the employer is required to pay.

How do I test an injured worker for drugs or alcohol?

See Section 11 of the Act and 50/9140 of the Rules.

My injury occurred a long time ago. How come the Commission hasn't sent me any money?

Employers are responsible for the payment of benefits to eligible injured workers. An insurance company may make the payments on the employer's behalf.

Will the IWCC give me an interpreter?

The Commission will furnish a language interpreter for petitioners who do not speak English, do not have an attorney, do not have their own interpreter, and are signing settlement contracts.

If you need an interpreter for a case, please contact Annette Roti in the Chairman's Office annette.roti@illinois.govone week before you come to the Commission.

How come I haven't had a trial yet?

Once a claim has been filed, it is set on a three-month cycle. Every three months, the case is set for an arbitrator's status call. At the call, the parties may request a trial or offer a settlement agreement. If no action is taken, the case is continued for another three months.

For the first three years, it is the parties' responsibility to move the case along. Parties often need to wait, for example, until the worker has reached maximum medical improvement. The Commission's rules permit the arbitrator to allow cases to continue for three years before encouraging resolution.

Once a case has been pending for three years, parties must show there is a good reason for not moving on the case. Arbitrators make special efforts to move these cases toward resolution. Parties are always able to get a trial date before the arbitrator.

Like most court systems, most cases at the Commission are settled. On average, a settlement is approved about two years after a claim is filed.

There is an expedited process for emergency situations. If an employee is not receiving cash or medical benefits, he or she may file a petition under Sections 19(b) or 19(b-1) of the law.

A flow chart illustrates the process.

How do I find a lawyer?

People who want to retain legal counsel may wish to ask friends for a recommendation, or click here for a list of organizations that refer attorneys.

The Commission is the court in which disputes between employers and employees regarding workers' compensation may be resolved. We must be impartial. Our Information Unit will explain procedures at the Commission and the basic provisions of the law, but we cannot offer individuals legal advice.

My lawyer isn't treating me right. Can the Commission help me?

We cannot resolve problems between injured workers and their lawyers. Claimants have a number of options available to them: they may try to improve their relationship with their lawyer; they may hire another lawyer; or they may proceed without a lawyer.

We receive a number of calls concerning problems between lawyers and their clients. We encourage lawyers to keep their clients informed. We encourage claimants to educate themselves and follow the progress of the case.

The Commission resolved my case, but the insurance company won't pay me. What should I do?

Contact the Consumer Services Unit of the Illinois Department of Insurance (toll-free 866-445-5364 or 217-782-4515).

You may also ask your attorney about penalties and attorneys' fees for delays in the payment of compensation under Sections 16, 19(k), and/or 19(l) of the Act.

What is an attorney code number?

The Commission assigns a code number to attorneys, who must enter it on all documents. Instead of typing the attorney's name and address every time we enter a document, the typist can just type the code number.

If you do not have a code number, please download our form, fill it out, and email it to Yvonna Castronova (312/814-6564).

Please send Yvonna Castronova your email address if we do not have it on file, keep your information up to date, and consolidate the numbers within your firm. That will help things move smoothly at the Commission.

My client does not have a valid photo ID. How can we conduct a hearing in Chicago?

To access the Chicago office, individuals must have a valid photo ID. If a party lacks identification, contact the Chairman's Office at least two weeks before the desired date.