Workers’ compensation is a system in Ohio that is designed to protect workers who might have suffered workplace injuries or become ill due to their work. This can sometimes get mixed in with politics and lead to confusion regarding who can and cannot get workers’ compensation benefits. One specific issue that is currently at the forefront is whether an undocumented worker can get workers’ compensation benefits. The state legislature is tackling this issue and it could have future ramifications for people who are injured or become ill while working as undocumented immigrants.
The Ohio House is set to pass a bill stopping undocumented workers from filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The issue with this bill, according to its detractors, is that businesses will receive side benefits from hiring undocumented workers, as they will not be subject to rising rates of workers’ compensation insurance if a worker is injured or becomes ill on the job. Supporters say that undocumented workers should not get benefits that are meant for workers who are in the U.S. legally.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has not supported the proposed change. A problem that is being referenced with this law is that undocumented workers who are hurt on the job will end up going to the emergency room rather than getting treatment through workers’ compensation, and this will eventually seep down and cost more for state taxpayers and other patients. With the bill, the worker would be required to certify that they are working in the U.S. legally. If they do not, they cannot be covered. Those who are against illegal immigration think that this bill will not reduce it as there will be a greater number of jobs from employers who are hiring undocumented workers because of the savings they will derive from it and the freedom from worrying about workers’ compensation claims.
The bill might not pass, but the fundamental issues that it exemplifies shows that workers must always be vigilant about their rights to workers’ compensation after they have been injured or became ill on the job. For those who are concerned about any matter related to workers’ compensation, it is essential to have legal assistance with the case.
Source: axcessnews.com, “Ohio House Expected to Pass Bill Blocking Workers’ Comp for Illegal Aliens,” Melissa Thompson, Dec. 5, 2017