Can Illegal Immigrants Receive Workers Comp

  • Posted on: Jun 15 2022
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When an injury occurs while working, the employee is entitled to workers´ compensation. These benefits cover any employee who is injured and suffers an illness related to the injury. To be eligible for the benefits from workers´ compensation, there are some requirements that must be met. First, there should be workers ‘ compensation insurance covering the employee, you work directly for the company, and you have sustained an injury at the time that you were working.

Law Governing Immigration Reform

Known as the IRCA, the Immigration  and Reform and Control Act oversees immigration in the United States. With close to 5% of the countries population being undocumented, that is a lot of unauthorized workers living within. Under the Immigration and Reform and Control Act, it makes all employers check the immigration status of all potential new hires to ensure that they are authorized to work legally. If an employer violates the IRCA law, then they could face a financial penalty of at least $10,000. This amount is on an individual basis and can quickly add up if there are several undocumented employees.

There have been many situations occurring where an injury occurs to an undocumented employee while working and the employer will make attempts to enforce IRCA in order to deny any benefits that may be warranted by an injury. In fact, the argument made stems around the fact that the employee is not legally authorized to work for the employer, so they feel they are not obligated to provide benefits.

What Do The Individual States Say?

There are quite a few states who have written laws that permit undocumented workers to obtain benefits from workers´ compensation. These laws are governed under a statute that specifically outlines employees who are undocumented. A few of the states that implement statutes include Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Hawaii.

With immigration being a huge factor, there is always something going on that gets covered by the news. Not only that, but legislation may come up again where immigrants working illegally will become barred from obtaining workers´  compensation.

In times that are even more recent, the issues of immigration were brought up when Central Americans reached the border. Because of this, many residents of a town decided to prevent  government buses carrying the immigrants to make their way through town.

Another instance occurred in 1999 when a Supreme Court ruling in Virginia ruled that no workers compensation may be obtained by undocumented workers if they sustain injury. Because of this, many employers decided to back laws that supported undocumented immigrant workers and their ability to obtain benefits. With that, it is clear that many attempts have been made to make it illegal to provide workers compensation benefits to a worker who is undocumented. However, the laws in each state continue to be the same.


There is a lot to know about immigration and the fact if an undocumented worker is eligible for benefits. That is why you should contact us to go over what your state laws say about it. This way you will be more informed about what course to take.

Posted in: Blog, Workers Compensation Benefits

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