Can you get workers’ compensation as an undocumented worker?
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Can you get workers’ compensation as an undocumented worker?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2022 | Workers Compensation

You shouldn’t have to worry about the costs and income losses involved with a work-related medical condition. Missouri has strict rules regarding workers’ compensation coverage. Specifically, businesses with five or more employees have to pay for this important insurance, and construction companies with any workers must also obtain coverage. Some professionals may also need to self-insure.

When a worker gets hurt on the job or a doctor diagnosis them with a work-related medical issue, workers’ compensation benefits are available. These benefits include disability pay and medical benefits, along with death benefits for surviving family members if a worker dies on the job.

If the worker who gets hurt or dies is an undocumented worker, does that prevent them or their surviving family members from filing a Missouri workers’ compensation benefits claim?

It is employment status, not documentation, that leads to benefits

Any employee working at a company with five or more staff members or in the construction industry has the right to claim benefits after an injury. Companies that choose to hire undocumented workers are often also companies that won’t give their employees accurate information about their rights. They may not inform their employees of their right to claim workers’ compensation benefits, or they might even lie and say that the workers can’t get benefits to prevent them from filing a claim.

However, the courts in Missouri have repeatedly upheld that workers have a right to compensation regardless of their documentation status. Workers may fear making a claim because they think they will lose their job or face other retaliation, such as their boss making a call to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. When workers know their rights, they are in a better position to protect themselves.

Educate yourself and get support for your claim

Even the process of filling out the paperwork for a workers’ compensation claim can be very difficult, to say nothing of negotiating with an employer or their insurance provider. Many undocumented workers who need the support of workers’ compensation will understand the value and having legal representation, as the involvement of an attorney will make it harder for their employer to violate their rights or continue manipulating this situation for the company’s benefit.

Learning about the rules for Missouri workers’ compensation benefits can help injured workers understand if they should file a claim.