Are undocumented workers eligible for workers’ compensation benefits? It varies from state to state.
Undocumented worker rules in Minnesota
In Minnesota, undocumented workers are covered by workers’ compensation policies. According to Minnesota Statute, “aliens” are considered employees and are therefore eligible to receive benefits for work-related injuries.
This was first declared by a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals case in 1999, the Gonzalez vs. Midwest Staffing Case, which decided that undocumented workers are entitled to wage-loss benefits, even if they used false paperwork to get hired.
The specifics of undocumented workers’ eligibility for benefits have since then been more clearly defined. In the case of Rivas vs Car Wash Partners, an undocumented worker was injured and lost time from work. The employer offered a post-injury job, but only if the worker could provide proof that he was authorized to work in the United States. Since the worker couldn’t offer legal documentation, he wasn’t able to return to work at the company, so the employer was able to stop paying wage-loss benefits.
Significant impact on your premium
Cases like this can have a significant impact on your workers’ compensation premium. Injured employees are entitled to receive benefits until maximum medical improvement or 130 weeks of benefits have been reached. Hiring smart can help prevent this from happening to you.
Rules in other states
Undocumented workers’ eligibility for workers’ compensation coverage can vary from state to state. If you’re not sure of your state’s laws, check with your insurance carrier.
For more information, see the video below:
This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.