Undocumented Workers ARE Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits!!
Many undocumented workers are afraid to apply for workers’ compensation benefits due to their immigration status. What they do not understand is that they ARE entitled to workers’ compensation benefits similar to documented workers. Undocumented workers may receive medical treatment, temporary disability payments, permanent disability payments and possibly a lifetime medical award.
A lifetime medical award is limited to the body part injured on the job, but is priceless to a worker that does not have private medical insurance. Unfortunately lack of medical coverage is often the case surrounding undocumented workers. Even Covered California plans do not cover undocumented workers.
Employers previously argued that undocumented workers were not entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. Vocational rehabilitation (VR) no longer exists as of 1/1/2004, but we now have Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers (SJDB). For injuries post 2013 they are valued at $6,000 and usually create eligibility for the $5,000 Return to Work Supplement Program (RTWSP). The SJDB and RTWSP ARE available to undocumented workers!
Therefore, it is pertinent to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to protect your interests. It is highly recommended an undocumented worker retain legal counsel to represent them in their workers’ compensation case. An attorney will be able to limit any testimony regarding documentation status while preserving the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.