If you are an undocumented worker, you are not alone. In fact, the American Immigration Council estimates that undocumented workers make up almost 10% of the massive workforce in the State of California. Even if you work carefully and wear protective gear, you can eventually be seriously injured on the job.
Understanding the State of California workers’ compensation system (Workers’ Comp) is the first step to receiving the financial benefits you need to get back on your feet.
1. You are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits
All workers in the State of California, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You must not allow your boss, co-workers or anyone else to tell you otherwise.
2. Falsely claiming work authorization is not workers’ compensation fraud
Most employers in the US are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees. They do this by examining certain documents and completing I-9 forms. Falsely claiming to have legal authorization to work in the U.S. It can be a problem for other reasons, but it is not Workers’ Comp fraud. Even if you provided false documents or made false statements on your I-9 or W-4 forms, you may not have become ineligible for certain workers’ compensation benefits.
3. Reinstatement and related benefits may be difficult to obtain however you have rights
When you apply for Workers’ Comp benefits, your employer may find that he or she is not authorized to work. If that happens, your employer will likely terminate your employment immediately to comply with federal law.
Consequently, if your employer has a valid reason to terminate you, you may not qualify for reinstatement after you recover from your work-related injury. While you may qualify for medical benefits, you may have difficulty receiving lost wages after your employer learns you are not authorized to work, but you may still be able to receive compensation for your degree of disability.
If you were injured at work and are in any of these cases, it is very likely that you will need legal advice or representation to obtain the benefits to which you are entitled, so it is advisable to contact a lawyer dedicated to compensation cases at worker (Workers’ Comp). This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.