Are you entitled to workers compensation benefits if you are not a documented worker?
Yes. Employers and insurance companies frequently attempt to intimidate undocumented workers when the suffer on-the-job injuries. Nevertheless, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits whether you have proper documentation or not. However, you should NOT use an invalid Social Security number on any part of your claim. Do not give any of your doctors an invalid Social Security number. Do not give the insurance company an invalid Social Security number, and do not sign any documents that have an invalid Social Security number. The law in Florida allows you to receive medical benefits and lost wages as long as you do NOT give an invalid Social Security number in any aspect of your claim. Florida courts have held that an injured worker who knowingly provides an invalid Social Security number in his/her claim for the purpose of securing workers compensation benefits is disqualified for receiving any benefits as a result of misrepresentation.
Now, workers compensation benefits are comprised of medical care and lost wages. You’re entitled to medical benefits if you’re injured on the job. The issue of lost wages can sometimes be a little trickier. The law in Florida allows you to get lost wages but you have to establish what is called an “average weekly wage” or AWW. The AWW is the average of your weekly wages for the 13 weeks just prior to your injury. The wages are only counted if you reported the earnings to the IRS. So, if you’ve been paid cash prior to the accident, you can still get workers compensation lost wages after your injury but you may have to complete an income tax report. Again, this issue can be complicated so you should speak with an attorney who specializes in workers compensation matters. At The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A., we only represent injured workers. We represent you on a contingency fee basis which means you will not pay out pocket – we’ll only get paid if we get you money. Call us at 561-246-6666 or email us.