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Can a Non-Citizen of the U.S. File for Workers Compensation?

All workers who are injured on the job, including noncitizens or illegal immigrants, are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. The workers’ compensation benefits are the same as other workers are entitled to and may include reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages. Here’s what you need to know.

Workers’ Compensation for Non-Citizens

Under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act or IRCA, it is a crime for an employer to knowingly hire anyone who cannot legally work in the U.S. However, employers unintentionally violate the law by hiring an employee whose documents seem legitimate, only to discover later that the documents were forged. As a result, such employees are usually terminated.

A terminated non-citizen employee may still qualify for workers’ comp in many cases. State laws in Florida specifically grant undocumented workers who are injured on the job the right to collect workers’ comp benefits.

In 2011, a judge ruled in favor of an injured worker and ordered his employer’s insurance company to provide lost wages and medical care. The court said, “An entity that knowingly employs unlawful labor should not be able to shirk the cost of the injuries it creates, ultimately placing it in an unfairly superior financial position to those employers who operate lawfully.” If the undocumented employee had not received workers’ comp, it would incentivize employers to hire more undocumented workers, knowing that they would not be held financially responsible if they were injured on the job.

Workers’ compensation fraud laws are meant to punish those who try to abuse the system, but a 2003 change in the Florida law is punishing immigrants who were legitimately injured if they use fake Social Security numbers or IDs to obtain a job or injury benefits.

Injured on the Job? Call Us Today!

If you had a work-related accident or became sick because of work, whether you are a citizen or not, do not hesitate to contact our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers at Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. today. We are backed by more than 160 years of combined experience.

Call (888) 499-6206 for a free initial case evaluation. We are available 24/7.