If you are an immigrant living in New York and working in construction, you may be worried about your ability to exert your legal rights. It is common for undocumented immigrants to worry about getting involved with legal issues because they fear deportation. However, it is important to know that if you are injured as an undocumented worker, you may still have the right to claim workers' compensation under the law.
If you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States, you are not legally allowed to gain employment. However, in New York there is no statute that categorically denies illegal immigrant workers the ability to gain workers' compensation when they are working without authorization. If you want to gain workers' compensation to help you cope financially with the costs associated with your injury, it is important that you take action to understand more about the law.
Understanding the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
The IRCA is a law that disincentives employers from hiring undocumented immigrants by imposing heavy sanctions on employers who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants. When undocumented workers become injured and try to claim workers' compensation, this law is sometimes used against them to try and show that they were never legitimate workers, therefore not eligible.
Making a claim for your workers' compensation eligibility
If you have been working for an employer and receive a regular salary, it is likely that you will be legally considered as an employee under the law, whether you are an undocumented immigrant or not. It might be possible to argue that you will be able to file for workers' compensation just as any other employee in New York.
How can workers' compensation help me?
Workers' compensation can go a long way to help you limit financial suffering as a result of your injury. Workers' compensation should cover all medical expenses, and will provide you with a portion of the wages you lost while you took unpaid leave to recover.
It is important that you do not let your undocumented immigrant status stop you from gaining the workers' compensation you deserve. You should take action by learning more about the law and your rights in New York.