New analysis of workers comp laws and illegal workers

Here is the headline: “Most States Allow Benefits for Illegal Aliens, but Restrictions Abound”. WorkcompCentral (subscription required) ran an article about a new study done on state policies with regard to allowing illegal workers benefitsThis study is exceptional in value because it surveys not only statutes but many key court decisions. The study was prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers. Good for them!
The news article:
Only one state – Wyoming – has a statute that directly prohibits illegal aliens from receiving benefits, but court decisions around the country have narrowed the scope of benefits allowed for undocumented workers, according to a report from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.
The IIABA report, called “Workers’ Compensation and Illegal Aliens,” shows that 38 states offer at least some type of benefits to illegal aliens. The report, designed as a chart showing each state’s stance on the issue, also notes the various factors that can be considered when the courts hear claims by workers who obtained their jobs using false documents or fake Social Security numbers.


Bill Wilson, the associate vice president of education and research for the IIABA, said that he compiled the chart from Google and legal database searches in 2006. He noted that the chart contains a warning that it is not a scientifically researched document, and recommended that readers verify with local sources before relying on the information.
The majority of the United States grant illegal aliens benefits, but courts and legislatures in some states – including Nebraska, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida – have established case law or passed statutes that restrict illegal aliens’ access to benefits.
For example, in Florida, sections 440.02(14)(a) and 440.105(4) prohibit compensation if the employment was obtained under false pretenses. In Georgia, an appellate court stated in Martines v. Worley & Sons Construction that disability benefits were not payable if the illegal immigrants were are unable to work due to their illegal status.
Illegal aliens in Nebraska might not receive vocational rehabilitation benefits because of Isaac Ortiz v. Cement Products, where the court ruled that a defendant could refuse a claimant’s request for vocational rehabilitation benefits because he could not legally work in the U.S.
The chart also notes ongoing legislative efforts in states such as South Carolina, where legislators unsuccessfully attempted to ban workers’ compensation benefits for illegal aliens this year.
Utah, on the other hand, approved legislation in 2008 that might affect benefit payments for illegal aliens, but an administrative law judge noted that it is too early to know for sure.
Idaho statutes preclude illegal aliens from collecting unemployment benefits, but do not prevent illegal aliens from collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
To view the chart, go here:
http://www.workcompcentral.com/pdf/2008/misc/IllegalAliens091808.pdf.

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