22 Apr Immigration Status and Obtaining Arizona Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Your immigration status does not prohibit you from obtaining obtain workers’ compensation benefits in the State of Arizona– Weston Montrose
In the course of helping workers injured on the job in Arizona we have represented diverse groups of people from various occupational and cultural backgrounds. These workers include United States Citizens, Permanent Residents, guest workers, and undocumented immigrant workers. At Montrose & Chua Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we are available to assist all injured workers’ regardless of their immigration status.
All injured workers, irrespective of their immigration status, are entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. Arizona law defines “employee” as “Every person in the service of any employer … including aliens and minors legally or illegally permitted to work for hire …” A.R.S. §23-901-(6)(b). So you can’t be denied your workers’ compensation claim just because of your immigration status.
Immigrant workers can face unique challenges when they sustain a work injury For example your employer might say that because you’re an undocumented worker you can’t get workers’ compensation benefits. Don’t believe this, it is not true! Sometimes bad employers will use this tactic to intimidate injured workers and try to prevent them from filing their claim.
This situation can be further complicated if you used a different name or even a social security number that doesn’t belong to you at work. Using a different identity or a fake social security number could be a violation in other areas of the law but it is not a valid reason to deny workers’ compensation benefits. Another challenge comes up if you were paid in cash and never received a paycheck. Again, this is not a valid reason to deny you workers’ compensation benefits.
Sometimes immigrant worker are working for an employer who doesn’t even have workers’ compensation insurance. Even if your employer is uninsured you can still receive benefits through the Special Fund Division of the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The Special Fund is there to provide benefits to injured workers’ whose employers didn’t have insurance at the time of the injury.
The main point here for immigrant workers is that you if you have a legitimate work related injury you can get workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona even if your immigration situation is “out of status”, if you were using someone else’s name or a fake social security number, were paid in cash, or even if you were working for an uninsured employer.
If your employer doesn’t cooperate with you when you report an injury, you should immediately seek medical attention and file a Workers’ Report of Injury with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The Industrial Commission of Arizona has offices in Phoenix and Tucson.
Injured workers must file a claim for benefits within one year of the date of the injury. A delay in filing your claim may impact your claim. If you need assistance completing the Workers’ Report of Injury we can help you complete the form. We are able to assist you navigate the claims filing process in order to help you obtain medical benefits and disability benefits that you are entitled to under Arizona Law.
Weston Montrose is an attorney at Montrose & Chua Attorneys at Law, PLLC. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Workers’ Compensation. You can contact Weston directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have bilingual staff to assist you. 602-346-9032.