Being injured at work is an incredibly stressful time for any worker. Between focusing on your recovery and uncertainty about medical bills and compensation, there’s plenty to worry about. This stress is even greater for an undocumented worker, especially given the current political climate. Many undocumented workers have expressed concern about changes in federal policy affecting their right to earn workers’ compensation here in North Carolina.
Be aware: The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act is a State Law and is not affected by the recent changes in Washington. The Court of Appeals in North Carolina has said that undocumented workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Their reasoning is that because undocumented workers are just as capable of earning a salary as documented workers are, they should be included in the Workers’ Compensation Act. Therefore, undocumented immigrants are treated the same as U.S. citizens when it comes to North Carolina’s workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are an undocumented worker, we recommend that you speak with an attorney before making any claims. Ideally, you should be treated no differently than a documented worker under the law. However, as the law can be complicated, the best way to determine what your next steps should be is to work with an attorney. Plus — be sure to work with an attorney who has experience dealing with a variety of cases.