Why Can't Undocumented Workers Receive Workers' Comp?

Posted on Jun 27, 2017

A recent amendment that would provide workers' compensation to undocumented workers has been rejected by the Senate.

Last month, House Republicans added this amendment to The Bureau of Workers' Compensation budget with objections from Democrats. Senate President, Larry Obhof, told the House their provision might not be supported by the Senate. As he predicted, according to The Columbus Dispatch, the Senate stripped the provision from the budget bill.

Senator Jay Hottinger stated, "I understand what the House was attempting to do, but it's a pretty big policy issue, and it needs to be vetted, and we need to make sure there aren't any unintended consequences.

Supports of the amendment argue that illegal workers make-up a large portion of the American workforce, and they deserve proper protection if they are injured on the job.

However, Hottinger explained that the Bureau of Workers' Compensation does not check Social Security numbers and does not verify to see if a worker is "illegal" or "legal." The only thing an employee does to verify their citizenship is by checking a box.

Hottinger believes it's fair for those paying premiums to the Bureau to receive workers' compensation benefits before undocumented workers. He does express his hope that this bill does not encourage the "bad actors" to hire more undocumented workers just because they do not have to take out workers' compensation insurance on them.

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