Can you collect workers’ comp benefits if you are not a citizen?


Were you injured on the job but are not a U.S. citizen? California law protects all employees equally, regardless of citizen status. Even if you or your loved one is not a citizen, if you are injured on the job you can collect money to help pay for medical bills through a workers’ compensation claim.

Will employers pay you the same amount as citizen workers?

If you are undocumented or have a pending immigration status, and you are injured at work, your employer must treat you the same as any other employee. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can recover the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other expenses

Your injury does not have to be catastrophic, such as losing a finger or a foot, to be covered. You can be paid for permanent or temporary disability without fearing that you will be fired. These injuries affect you the same as any other worker, and you should receive the same benefits.

What if my employer threatens to contact Immigration Services?

You may feel intimidated by your employer or their company about filing a workers’ compensation claim. If they threaten to fire you, change your position, threaten your family or threaten to contact Immigration Services, know that this is illegal. You could also sue them for discriminating against you and your rights as an injured worker.

Work injuries can threaten your family’s ability to pay rent, buy groceries and even your ability to work in the future. You may suffer pain for years to come from this work injury, so it is important to file a claim even if you do not feel pain right away.

If you or a family member is injured at work, but they are not a U.S. citizen, know that you have legal options to protect yourself and your family.

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